Updated September 24, 2013, at 11:25 a.m. with comments from Medtronic.
Minnesota medical device company Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is closing the books on a years-old wage discrimination case, without admitting any wrongdoing, by paying $290,000 to settle claims that it paid Hispanic workers less than white workers.
Medtronic allegedly shortchanged 78 Hispanic entry-level employees at a Danvers, Mass., facility, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The alleged misconduct dated back to 2008 and continued for 5 years, according to a Labor Dept. statement.
The pay disparities were discovered via investigation, rather than by any whistle-blowing from within the company, Medtronic said.
"In this case, the finding is based on a statistical analysis rather than any employee complaints," Medtronic spokeswoman Cindy Resman told MassDevice.com. "Medtronic stands behind its employment practices and commitment to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws."
Under the terms of the consent decree Medtronic must pay the affected workers $290,000 in back wages and interest, conduct training regarding equal employment opportunity programs and "ensure that all of their pay practices fully comply with the law, according to the Labor Dept. The company said that it plans to fulfill all requirements of the settlement and conduct ongoing monitoring and reporting.
"This agreement resolves the matter without further legal proceedings and does not represent any admission of wrongdoing," Resman added. "In fact, the OFCCP has concluded that there are no current pay disparities for this group of employees."
As a company that does business with the federal government, Medtronic is bound by certain non-discrimination laws, extending to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. Medtronic last year alone landed more than $33 million in federal contracts, according to the report.