One Resolution Employers Don’t Want for the New Year

Heightened by an increase in social activism and the #metoo movement, many publically traded companies – especially those in the technology and retail sectors – may find themselves facing a New Year’s resolution they’d rather not have in 2018: a shareholder resolution demanding public disclosure of detailed information about gender pay differences. It’s not that most companies are unwilling to share such data, maintains Mark Girouard, an attorney with Nilan Johnson Lewis who conducts pay audits for employers and helps them develop measures to achieve pay equity. It’s that they risk doing so under the gun, forced to compile and report this information reactively without sufficient time to carefully analyze the findings or develop plans to respond to any red flags. Citing early signs from companies like Nike and Costco, he predicts that 2018 will be a booming year for gender equity studies. “If public companies wait until shareholders force disclosure of gender pay data, they risk losing grasp of how those data will be analyzed, control of their message, and the ability to proactively take steps to address any gaps,” says Girouard. He advises that employers take time early in 2018 to work with their legal counsel to get ahead of the issue, before being forced to do so by a shareholder resolution or, in the worst case, a class action lawsuit. To speak with Mark Girouard about pay equity analysis and compliance, contact him at 612.305.7579 or mgirouard@nilanjohnson.com.

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