Boehringer Ingelheim to Pay $379,000 to Settle Wage Discrimination Charges

Pay Gap_Compressed

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Animal Health USA division will reimburse $379,089 in back pay and interest to 75 female employees to resolve alleged wage discrimination at its St. Joseph, Missouri, facility.

The agreement follows a compliance review conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFFCP). Boehringer Ingelheim’s Animal Health USA is a federal contractor and is subject to review by the Labor Department. In an announcement this week, OFFCP alleges discrimination occurred in base compensation for female employees working as scientists, technicians and technical administrators in the production sub-area at the facility that manufactures biological animal vaccines.

In addition to the distribution of nearly $380,000 in back pay and interest under the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. will ensure that its compensation policies and payment procedures are free from discrimination and provide training to all managers, supervisors and other company officials who oversee pay decisions, the government said in its announcement.

Carmen Navarro, OFFCP’s Midwest Regional Director, said the office is committed to combating pay discrimination and ensuring fair compensation of all employees.

“Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. worked cooperatively with the Department to resolve these matters and to prevent similar issues from happening again,” Navarro said in a statement.

Despite that cooperative working relationship, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Incdenies the allegations and admitted no liability in the case, the government said. The settlement relates to an OFCCP audit of 2014 data of the then Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica employees in St. Joseph. The company said it does not agree with the allegations that there was a gender-based wage discrepancy for a limited number of employees. Because the matter occurred in 2014, the company decided to resolve ut in a collaborative manner, according to a statement.

“Boehringer Ingelheim provides a workplace free of discrimination and harassment to all employees and equal employment opportunity is a core principle at the company. We are committed to ensuring that our employees are fairly compensated, based on business-related factors and regular market survey analyses. The settlement discussions have now concluded, and both parties have come to an amicable resolution. The OFCCP has not made any additional allegations against Boehringer Ingelheim since 2014," the company said.

Wage discrimination continues to be an issue in the life sciences industry as men continue to out-earn women in the same roles. According to the 2020 U.S. Life Sciences Salary Report conducted by BioSpace this summer, the average base salary for a male employee is nearly 20% higher when compared to women’s average salaries. For those with doctoral degrees, the pay gap is more than 28%. That’s up from a 2019 gap of about 16%. Bonuses for men were also higher. The BioSpace survey showed men’s average bonus is approximately 32% higher than women’s. That is down slightly from the 2019 bonus gap of 39%.

A breakdown of the wage gap between men and women across the various sectors of the life science industry reveals an across-the-board difference. The survey shows a 48% difference in healthcare, 40% in academia, 12% in biotech and 11% in pharma. In medical devices the gap was less than 7%.

As the wage gap increases, so too do industry salaries. The survey shows an average 4.6% salary increase in the life sciences.  

The full results of the BioSpace 2020 U.S. Life Sciences Salary Report can be found here.

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