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Boeing Settles Sex-Discrimination Suit for $72 Million

Nov 13, 2005 | Approximately 17,960 current and former female employees of Boeing Co. will share a settlement fund of $72 million to dispose of their sex-discrimination class-action against the aerospace giant.

The payouts will range from $500 to $26,000 depending on seniority and position.

Legal fees and costs of approximately $15 million will be deducted from the proceeds of the settlement. Originally, about 20,000 claims out of a pool of 29,000 were filed against Boeing. Those claims were based upon alleged acts of sex discrimination that took place at the company’s Seattle-area plants between 1997 and 2000. Approximately 2,400 claims were dismissed as a result of various filing irregularities.

Although the settlement did not require Boeing to admit any wrongdoing, the company did agree to change a number of practices related to hiring, pay, promotion, and the investigation of complaints by employees.

According to the lead attorney for the class, it was remarkable that 60% of the female employees filed claims; usually, a 30% response rate is typical in such cases.

Documents obtained from Boeing during the litigation, which started in 2000, showed that women generally earned $1,000 to $2,000 less than men in similar positions. Company promotion and pay-raise policies magnified these discrepancies as an employee's tenure with Boeing increased.

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