Bulletins

IBM discriminated against female PMs and will give them back-pay

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna speaks while seated in front of an open water bottle.

IBM will pay $350,000 in back pay to female program managers who were paid less than their male counterparts.

Photo: Brian Ach / Getty Images for Wired

IBM settled a pay discrimination case with the Department of Labor today by agreeing to pay $350,000 in back-pay and interest to female program managers who made less than their male counterparts.


A June 2018 federal investigation found that as of December 2017, IBM discriminated against 115 female program managers by paying them less than their male counterparts. The investigation was conducted because a Johnson-era executive order that prohibits gender-based discrimination also allows the Department of Labor to routinely investigate companies to make sure they are complying with the order.

A separate federal investigation conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found in September 2020 that IBM also engaged in a persistent pattern of discriminating against older workers in favor of younger ones. The EEOC must try to pursue an out-of-court mediation to resolve the issue before it can pursue a case against IBM in court, and no resolution or court case has been announced.

"Today, we follow a modern methodology to identify and address pay equity gaps for employees in all the countries where we operate. While we disagreed with OFCCP's position, we are pleased to have avoided a protracted disagreement and resolved this matter, which concerns the 2017 pay of a small fraction of the thousands of IBMers who worked in the unit that year," an IBM spokesperson wrote in a statement.

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