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LinkedIn Fined $1.8 Million for Paying Women Less than Men

The agreement allows the company to admit no guilt in shorting female pay, even as, like many tech companies, a majority of its employees are male.

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The LinkedIn logo at the New York stock exchange on a monitor with people walking by.
Photo: Richard Drew (AP)

That glass ceiling is looking mighty sturdy over at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn finally settled a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor over allegations that it underpaid 686 women workers at its California offices from 2015 to 2017. That $1.8 million is equivalent to back wages for the employees plus interest over time, the DOL said in a release.

Of course, as per the conciliation agreement, the settlement maintains LinkedIn is not admitting to any wrongdoing. LinkedIn has agreed to analyze worker pay at its Cali offices and correct any pay discrepancies, as well institute a new training program for all managers involved in employee pay. Around $1.75 million is going to the affected employee’s back pay, while $50,000 is going to be paid in interest.


The DOL said that between those two years, review of LinkedIn’s pay records showed the company was regularly paying female workers less than male workers in the engineering and marketing sectors at its San Francisco office and headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

More specifically, feds said LinkedIn failed to adhere to the U.S. government standards that federal contractors not discriminate on the basis of sex based on executive order 11246. The Lyndon B. Johnson-era mandate, maintained by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, was designed to make sure employees are on an equal footing despite race, creed, or national origin.


San Francisco’s OFCCP Director Jane Suhr said that “In addition to recovering $1.8 million in back wages and interest for these workers, our agreement will ensure that LinkedIn better understands its obligations as a federal contractor and complies in the future.”

In response to a request for comment, LinkedIn linked to a statement saying that even though they’ve agreed to pay out, they “do not agree with the government’s claim,” of pay discrimination.

Despite the company’s total denial of any wrongdoing, LinkedIn has tried to make overtures to the idea of equal pay in the workplace. In a 2021 release, the company said that since 2015, they have “reviewed employee pay with a lens focused on internal equity… when we find issues, we take action and make adjustments.”

LinkedIn pointed to its 2021 diversity report, saying that for every $1 men make at the company, women make $.999. The company has 19,000 employees worldwide. The overall company workforce is 54% male to 45% female and 1% non-disclosed, whereas the vast, vast majority of its tech staff, near 74%, are men. In addition, 58% of those in leadership roles at the company are also men. Despite the company’s recent equity strategy, total numbers of male versus female employees from 2019 to the latest data sets shows progress has been slow.


It’s a problem seen all throughout the U.S. tech industry. The gender and race gap is in similar situations across the entire tech field, where men outnumber women in the professional fields of science and engineering, according to the National Science Foundation data.

If the company can come to the conclusion that its stories feature was rather pointless in only a year, maybe it can figure out how to make real efforts to close its wide gender gap in a similar amount of time.