Uber Offers to Settle Bias Case for $10 Million

In order to resolve a class action lawsuit brought by 425 female and minority software engineers who alleged a hostile work environment and discrimination, Uber has offered a settlement of $10 million.  The proposed settlement must be approved by U.S. District Judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Roger, but the case illustrates the significant expense and penalties associated with workplace discrimination.

It is well known that the technology industry, as well as many others, struggle with the issue of diversity.  Many prominent technology companies, such as Google and Salesforce, have worked hard to equalize pay for female workers and set a culture for polices and balances the work environment.  Nevertheless, the more difficult challenge is to increase the number of women minorities, particularly in senior and leadership ranks.  For its part, Uber has been the focus of several high-profile scandals.  The company has replaced its CEO and Co-Founder and has taken multiple steps to repair its reputation.  Uber has focused on a new compensation and pay equity structure, overhauled its performance review process and published a Diversity & Inclusion report, according to a company spokesman.

The company has also implemented diversity and inclusion training as a way of improving the work environment.  Further, the company released a diversity report in March 2017 which demonstrates that women and non-Asian minorities were significantly underrepresented in its executive ranks and its workforce overall.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Uber has pledged to restructure its compensation and promotion program to develop a promotion assessment process and to provide mentorship and skill development for women and minority employees.  Allegations in the lawsuit stated that employees were paid less, promoted more slowly and performance evaluations were unbalanced for female and non-Caucasian employees; specifically, Uber’s stack ranked systems resulted in lesser performance evaluations.

Significance

The takeaway for employers is to implement these objective programs with respect to compensation, promotion and performance management to avoid these types of allegations and result in liability.

Paul Finkle, CMC, SPHR – Executive Vice President

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services

Updates Tax Forms, Tools and HSA Limit Revised in Q1 2018

As we alerted readers in our January 2018 bulletin, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved in late 2017 revised Federal wage withholding tables, which payroll companies implemented by mid-February 2018.  Now the new 2018 W4 withholding form has been released, along with an IRS tax calculator that can be used to plan withholding for the remainder of the year.  Additionally, the limit for HSA contributions for families has been reduced, an announcement which came – inconveniently – a little more than two months into the year.  This change may require review, adjustments and corrections for impacted participants.

Tax: IRS Forms and Calculator Now Available.  As promised, the newly released W4 has been designed with similar fields so that it will not require everyone to complete a new one.  The IRS calculator can help determine the appropriate allowances for the 2018 tax year. The IRS website notes: The IRS encourages everyone to use the Withholding Calculator to perform a quick “paycheck checkup”. This is even more important this year because of recent changes to the tax law for 2018.  They also recommend checking withholdings in the following taxpayer situations:

  • Families with more than one earner
  • Those with two or more jobs at the same time or who only work for part of the year
  • Those with children who claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit
  • Those with older dependents, including children age 17 or older
  • Those who itemized deductions in 2017
  • Those with high incomes and more complex tax returns

Benefits: HSA Limit Reduced. Earlier this month, the IRS surprised employers and participants with an announcement that the family contribution limit for Health Savings Accounts in 2018 will be $6,850 ($50 less than previously announced).  The catch-up contribution of $1,000 for participants age 55 or older can still be made.  Keep in mind that, when it comes to HSAs, the definition of “family” HSA plan is employee + any dependent and these maximums include both the employer and employee contributions.

With this HSA change, employers will need to review any family-level HSA deductions made thus far in the year and plan to establish new deduction amounts or set annual limits for the remaining contribution that can be made.  In a situation where an employee has “front-loaded” their family contribution already in 2018, employers may need to work with their HSA administrator to request a refund before the end of 2018 to avoid adverse tax consequences for the employee.

Amy Kelemen, SPHR – Director of Professional Services & Senior HR Consultant

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

 

Bay Area Human Resources Services