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American Airlines, Anthem Commit to Frequent Checks on Pay Fairness

The companies are signing up with nonprofit Fair Pay Workplace to ensure equal pay for women and minority groups

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Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

American Airlines Group Inc. and Anthem Inc. are among companies that have signed up to have a year-old nonprofit monitor their progress in closing gender and racial compensation gaps, seeking to add accountability to their efforts to rectify the pay disparities within their workplaces.

Called Fair Pay Workplace, the Seattle-based group—backed by Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective LLC—has signed up an initial cohort that also includes Databricks Inc., a data-analysis software startup valued at $38 billion, and the University of California at Irvine. When companies enlist, Fair Pay evaluates their data for pay gaps and creates a road map to fix them.

To receive certification that they’re participating, companies must commit to the plan, abide by the nonprofit’s rules and standards, and undergo regular check-ins for progress, said Heidi Durham, Fair Pay’s executive director. For example, Fair Pay asks certified companies to pledge that they won’t ask job candidates about their prior compensation or expectations for starting pay, which is “one of the biggest reasons gaps are exacerbated,” Durham said.

While there has been more scrutiny of pay equity in the past 25 years, gaps remain—the U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday that women who worked full-time last year earned 83 cents for every dollar men took home, up from 82.3 cents the year prior. Black women make 63 cents for every dollar made by White men, and Latinas make 55 cents, according to Fair Pay’s website. Many companies rely on internal reviews that aren’t checked by outside audits or are incomplete, said Chai Feldblum, a former commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who was part of the group that helped Fair Pay Workplace develop its certification.