A central Kansas pharmaceutical plant accused of gender discrimination must pay about $400,000 in back wages and hire more women, according to a federal settlement.
The U.S. Department of Labor said in a release that the Hospira Inc. plant in McPherson was accused of hiring a smaller percentage of women than men and paying the women less than their male counterparts in 2012, the Hutchinson News reported.
Hospira, which doesn’t admit any liability in the settlement, had a $35 million federal contract to develop and manufacture medications. The Labor Department said the violations were uncovered as part of a routine audit by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs covering one year of hiring.
In 2012, the Hospira plant received applications for pharmacy attendant positions from 160 women; 15, or 9.4 percent, were hired. The company also received 199 applicants from men, the Labor Department said, and that 45, or 22.6 percent, were hired.
The Labor Department did not detail the wage disparity. The audit also found Hospira violated record-keeping requirements “by failing to preserve employment applications and interview forms,” the department said.
Neha Wadwa, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, Hospira’s parent company, said Hospira believes hiring practices at the plant have been fair.
“Hospira has a strong track record of compliance with OFCCP requirements and is confident our hiring practices support the company’s priority of employing diverse and skilled talent,” Wadwa said in an email.
Hospira has agreed to hire 11 more women and give them retroactive seniority. The company will also pay the $400,000 in back wages and interest to the 145 women denied jobs. The amount was based on what the position would have paid, according the Labor Department.
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