State Street Corp., the investment firm behind Wall Streetâ€™s feminist-inspired â€œFearless Girlâ€ statue has agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to female and black employees that it allegedly discriminated against.
According to a federal audit, more than 300 women and 15 black employees were allegedly paid less than their white, male counterparts at the $2.6 trillion asset management company.
In aÂ Wednesday filingÂ by the U.S. Department of Laborâ€™s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the firm was audited starting in late 2012, based on data between 2010 and 2011. On March 31, 2017, the same month â€œFearless Girlâ€ made her debut, the government informed the firm that it needed to take â€œcorrective actionsâ€ for the payment discrepancy.
The feds concluded that since â€œat least December 1, 2010,â€ State Street discriminated against women in senior-level roles including vice president, senior vice president, and managing director positions by paying them lower base salaries, bonuses and total compensation than men in â€œsimilarly situatedâ€ positions. The government office also found that they did the same thing to 15 black employees at the vice president level.
The firm, which commissioned the bronze statue earlier this year to face down Wall Streetâ€™s iconic â€œCharging Bullâ€ statue to promote gender equality, has agreed to pay a combined $5 million to female and black employees that were allegedly discriminated against. It includes $4.5 million in back pay and $500,000 in interest.
While State Street settled, the company officially denies the claims. â€œState Street is committed to equal pay practices and evaluates on an ongoing basis our internal processes to be sure our compensation, hiring and promotions programs are nondiscriminatory,â€ said the company in a statement. â€œWhile we disagreed with the OFCCPâ€™s analysis and findings, we have cooperated fully with them, and made a decision to bring this six-year-old matter to resolution and move forward.â€
The discrimination allegations against State Street depict the company in a very different light than â€œFearless Girlâ€ marketing campaign, for which it has earned over a dozen prestigious advertising awards since the statue was erected earlier this year.
Created by McCann New York, the symbol was designed to celebrate feminism and gender equality, and encourage investment in corporations with women in positions of power.
However, its position in front of the â€œCharging Bullâ€ twisted the meaning of Arturo Di Modicaâ€™s sculpture, which was intended as a symbol of the booming economy, and not male dominance or the â€œPatriarchy,â€ as feminists have claimed.