As both states and the federal government amp up their efforts to enforce the Equal Pay Act (EPA)—with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) set to collect pay data from employers and states passing their own versions of the statute—a federal court judge in California granted final approval to an $8.2 million deal for a class of about 1,500 female pharmaceutical reps in an EPA lawsuit. The case involved allegations that although half of the company's sales representatives were female, just one-third of the district managers were female and the upper-level management positions were almost entirely filled by men. The complaint referenced a "high number" of harassment and discrimination complaints against the employer, adding that the mostly male management made final pay decisions that favored men and disfavored women in violation of the EPA. After the court conditionally certified a collective action for the female reps, the employer agreed to pay $4.6 million to the women and retain a consultant to review its employment policies and practices, including criteria in promotions and career development. The settlement fund will be paid proportionately between the class members as back pay, based upon the number of workweeks during the damages period. The employer also agreed to cover the costs of settlement administration, incentive awards for class representatives (ranging from $1,000 to $25,000), and about $3 million in attorneys' fees and costs.
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