LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Humana Inc. has agreed to pay $2.5 million in back wages and interest to 753 women to settle allegations by the federal government of gender pay discrimination at the company’s corporate headquarters in Louisville.

The U.S. Department of Labor said it found a statistically significant pattern in which women in a handful of jobs at the company’s headquarters were paid less than “similarly situated” men in 2011 and 2012. The pay gaps "were based on gender and not based on legitimate explanatory factors," according to the labor department.

Humana, which denies the charges, reached a “conciliation agreement” to resolve the case on March 16.

Under the agreement, 753 women who worked at Humana in 2011 and 2012 will get back pay and interest ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 each, and Humana will conduct a “compensation analysis” to ensure women in the roles are paid on par with men, raising salaries as necessary.

“We are pleased that Humana has a commitment to equal employment opportunity and has worked cooperatively with the Department of Labor to resolve this matter,” said Samuel Maiden, regional director of the labor department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program, in a prepared statement.

Humana spokesman Tom Noland said the company, like other federal government contractors, has undergone "multiple" audits of its pay practices in recent years with no problems. The 2011-2012 audit was "the exception," he said. 

"Although we disagree with this finding, and believe that all Humana employees were paid fairly during this period, we have decided – to avoid the cost and disruption of continuing to disagree with the agency – to make one-time payments to these employees," Noland said in an emailed statement. 

Noland added that the labor department "found no issues with most of our pay decisions" in the 2011-2012 audit.

Humana employs about 12,500 at its headquarters in Louisville.

The 753 women affected by the settlement had job titles of "applications consultant, consultant, manager and project manager," according to the agreement.

Within about two months, Humana will pay them the back wages and interest either through the company's regular payroll system or by mailing checks to those who no longer work at the company, according to the settlement.

But the women must sign a form giving up their right to sue Humana for claims associated with the alleged pay discrimination to receive the back pay.

The settlement agreement is below:

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.