AstraZeneca settles Philly-area sex discrimination suit

    Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $250,000 to female employees based at its Wayne, Pa., offices to settle a sex-discrimination lawsuit.

    A routine federal audit in 2002 found that female pharmaceutical representatives based at the company’s Philadelphia Business Center made an average of $1,700 per year less than their male counterparts.

    The settlement will be divided among 124 current and former employees. Michele Hodge, with the U.S Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said the agreement also requires AstraZeneca to analyze the pay of more than 400 employees in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and other states to make sure there is compliance with federal non-discrimination statutes.

    “They will make any adjustments to those who are underpaid, and they will continue to monitor their compensation system to ensure equity in their entire workforce going forward,” Hodge said.

    AstraZeneca has a contract worth more than $2 billion with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, so it comes under the oversight of Hodge’s office.

    In a statement, the pharmaceutical company did not admit fault and said it paid the fine to avoid further legal action. It maintains its pay policies were and continue to be non-discriminatory.

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