Coke Comes up with $8.1 million in Back Pay

May 28, 2002 ( - The Coca-Cola Company has agreed to shell out $8.1 million in back pay to more than 2,000 current and former employees after an audit by a federal agency and the company itself found that the workers had been underpaid.

As part of an agreement with the US Department of Labor (DoL), the company will give $4.2 million to 980, mostly white-collar, current and former workers at Coke’s Atlanta headquarters. The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs audited Coca-Cola’s pay policies from December 31, 1998 to December 15, 2000.

In its own internal audit, the company found that 1,100 current and former North American employees were also underpaid by $3.9 million.

Along with a November 2000 payment of $192.5 million to settle a class action discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of current and former African-American workers, Coca-Cola has paid just over $200 million to amend its employment practices.

“We strive to cultivate a workplace that encourages our employees to develop and perform to their fullest potential,” Coretha Rushing, Coca-Cola’s senior vice president for human resources, said in an employee memo. “We’ve learned a great deal about our human resources practices, and we’re acting on what we’ve learned.”

Those who are owed money in this latest agreement will be notified within 60 days, the company said. Some of those to whom the agreement applies are no longer at Coke. They either left the company or were laid off amid a major restructuring launched two and a half years ago.

Read more at Coke Sued For Underpaying Overtime .