WILMINGTON, MA — The U.S. Department of Labor has entered into an early resolution conciliation agreement with one of the nation’s largest uniform providers to pay $104,568, in back pay and interest to 37 former and current female employees in the company’s New Kensington, Pennsylvania production facility to resolve alleged pay discrimination identified in a routine audit.
A compliance review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges that UniFirst paid some female employees less than their male counterparts since January 1, 2021. By doing so, the employer violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, sex, gender identity or national origin.
In addition to paying back pay and interest, the Wilmington, Massachusetts-based employer has agreed proactively to review their policies and practices and analyze base salaries of production department employees for compensation disparities.
“Our agreement with UniFirst shows the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to combating pay discrimination and holding federal contractors accountable if they fail to ensure equal employment opportunity,” explained Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Sam Maiden in Philadelphia. “Federal contractors must ensure there are no gender-based disparities in compensation.”
UniFirst has previously entered into OFCCP conciliation agreements for alleged violations in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 20, 2017, and for alleged violations in Nashua, New Hampshire, on July 30, 2020.
“We appreciate UniFirst working with the department cooperatively to resolve the latest issue quickly, and put steps in place to prevent it from happening again,” Maiden said.
Founded in 1936, UniFirst is one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies, providing uniforms, protective clothing and custom corporate image apparel programs to customers, including federal government agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It employs approximately 14,000 employees in North America and Europe.