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OFCCP entered into an unusual conciliation agreement with Qualcomm, Inc.


CA incorporates settlement from separate private class action lawsuit

To resolve compliance reviews of two of Qualcomm’s functional business units in San Diego, OFCCP entered into a conciliation agreement (CA) that adopts the terms of a settlement agreement reached last year in a private class action lawsuit (Pan v. Qualcomm Inc.) that is currently awaiting final approval by a federal district court in California.

Qualcomm did not admit liability that OFCCP alleged discriminated against female employees in their respective engineering job functions “by paying them less than comparable males at statistically significant rates.”  In the Pan action, the parties agreed to a settlement in July 2016 which received preliminary approval from the district court on December 5, 2016.  “The Pan Settlement Agreement” is specifically referenced in the OCCP CA. 

In addition to reviewing employment practices, policies and records, OFCCP interviewed management and non-management employees and HR staff; reviewed employee complaints, public disclosure files, litigation dockets; and analyzed individual employee compensation data.  On May 1, 2011, OFCCP found “statistically significant pay disparities against female employees based upon sex after controlling for legitimate explanatory factors.”  A notice of violations (NOV) was issued on February 21, 2017. 

In addition to reporting requirements, OFCCP and Qualcomm agreed to the provisions of the Pan Settlement agreement, assuming that the agreement is given final approval by the district court.  In the event that the agreement is not given final approval by the court, Qualcomm reserves all rights to contest the NOV.  OFCCP may also revoke the CA if the Pan Settlement Agreement does not obtain final approval, is materially modified or the final approval is not ordered by November 1, 2017.

Summary of Pan Settlement Agreement

In the Pan action, the plaintiffs alleged systemic gender discrimination in pay and promotion against female science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and related production or program management employees.  The putative class includes about 3,290 long-term current and former female employees.

The settlement agreement requires Qualcomm to make a non-reversionary settlement payment of $19.5 million (the “fund”) to resolve all class and collective claims.  Individualized payments will be disbursed from the fund based on a formula applied to each member of the classes based on their individual rate of pay and length of employment and whether she had previously signed a release or whether she took pregnancy related leave to care for a newborn. 

Qualcomm has agreed to other programmatic relief and the submission of two progress reports in addition to what is required by the Pan Settlement Agreement.  

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.