Client sitting with employment attorney discussing case

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Settles Compensation Discrimination Claim For $1.9M

By Douglas Lipsky

The Bank of New York Mellon, Corp. (BNY Mellon) entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve allegations of systemic discrimination against female, Black, and Hispanic workers at the bank’s Jersey City location. 

The Labor Department has oversight of BNY Mellon in its capacity as a federal contractor. The bank has federal contracts with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Our conciliation agreement with BNY Mellon Corp. will ensure that [its] compensation policies and practices provide equal pay and will remedy discriminatory and unjustified pay gaps,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Northeast Regional Director Diana Sen.

The company will pay approximately $1.9 million in back wages to the aggrieved employees and take other remedial actions. This case highlights the pervasive discrimination at workplaces in the New York area and around the country. Talk to an employment lawyer if you have experienced discrimination in your workplace. 

The Backdrop

A routine compliance review by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found BNY Mellon discriminated against female, minority workers. In particular, the OFCCP alleged that BNY Mellon:

  • Paid the female employees less than their male counterparts in similar positions
  • Paid the Black and Hispanic workers less than their Asian counterparts in similar positions

The compliance review involved 120 female workers in investment services technology positions and 47 Black and 26 Hispanic workers in its technology services group from Dec. 1, 2016, to Dec. 1, 2017. 

BNY Mellon’s alleged actions violate Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

The BNY Mellon/Department of Labor Settlement

BNY Mellon voluntarily entered a conciliation agreement with the Labor Department to resolve the allegations. Under the agreement, the company will pay $1.925 million in back wages and interest to the affected employees. BNY Mellon must also: 

  • Conduct a compensation analysis for the affected groups
  • Make salary adjustments to eliminate pay disparities based on gender, race, and ethnicity
  • Review and revise its compensation system
  • Train managers to ensure future compliance
  • Analyze compensation annually for disparities

OFCCP is working to identify and locate applicants or workers who may be entitled to legal remedies, including monetary relief. An experienced employment attorney can advise whether you are eligible to join the DOL’s class action settlement with BNY Mellon or whether you have grounds for individual legal action.

Why This Matters

The Labor Department’s settlement with BNY Mellon over compensation discrimination is a warning to employers in New York, New Jersey, and around the country that they must comply with the federal Equal Pay Act and applicable state laws. 

Moreover, workers in the greater New York area have strong legal protections under state and local laws and access to the services of the esteemed employment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe, LLP. When you work with us, we will be the strength in your corner and help you fight compensation discrimination. Reach out to our team today.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.