A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that Ameriprise Financial Inc. discriminated against 20 black employees by paying them less than similarly situated white workers.
Minneapolis-based Ameriprise settled with the government, agreeing to pay $128,200 in back wages and interest while not admitting liability and disagreeing with the Labor Department’s findings.
The workers in question processed account service requests and were not among Ameriprise’s licensed financial advisers.
The case stems from a 2012 investigation of Ameriprise Bank by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which routinely reviews compensation at companies with business ties to the U.S. government. Ameriprise Bank, which has since been reorganized, had federal deposit insurance at the time of the Labor Department’s review.
“It is unlawful for federal contractors to discriminate in pay on the basis of race,” Thomas Dowd, acting director of the Labor Department’s office of contract compliance, said in a statement. “Through this settlement, the affected workers in this case will be compensated for their losses.”
Ameriprise said it is committed to equal opportunity for all of its employees, and it claimed the Labor Department’s investigation was based on a “flawed statistical model,” according to a statement.
“In fact, there are no required changes to our compensation practices or policies,” Ameriprise said. “Ultimately, after more than four years of working with the department on this matter, we chose to reach a settlement rather than commit additional resources to litigate it.”
Ameriprise, a major provider of financial planning and investment services, has about 13,000 employees, including about 2,000 licensed financial advisers. An additional 7,700 Ameriprise financial advisers are franchisees of the company.
The Labor Department has launched an online “class member locator” for workers who have been impacted by its compliance investigations, including the one at Ameriprise.
The website is www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML.