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Coke to Pay $8.1 Million in Back Salaries

ATLANTA - Coca-Cola Co. said it will pay $8.1 million in back compensation to more than 2,000 current and former employees, after an audit conducted by a federal agency and an internal review by the company determined that the personnel had been underpaid, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported.

Coca-Cola has agreed to pay $4.2 million to 980 current and former employees who hold or held mostly professional-level positions at the company's headquarters in Atlanta. The agreement was made with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which discovered the salary discrepancies in a review it conducted of the company's pay practices from Dec. 31, 1998, through Dec. 15, 2000.

Coca-Cola said it will voluntarily pay an additional $3.9 million to 1,100 current and former employees in its North American operations, after an internal review it conducted separately from the agency audit turned up similar pay discrepancies in those departments.

In November 2000, Coca-Cola paid $192.5 million to settle a highly publicized class-action discrimination lawsuit that had alleged wide disparities in pay and promotions for current and former African- American employees and that tarnished the company's image.
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