Kaiser Permanente settles racial discrimination lawsuit

Frank S. Clowney III

Being an employee in today’s market is tough, especially when workers must endure racial discrimination in their employment. It is not fair that these employees must endure negative treatment simply because of their race. And, most readers likely think that most employers have successfully purged their rolls of this type of discrimination, but as one recent class-action lawsuit shows, racial discrimination is still an issue in today’s workforce.

The racial discrimination case

The Oakland, California, company at issue here is Kaiser Permanente. The case, a class-action lawsuit, was over the alleged discrimination of over 2,000 African-American employees in both administrative support and consulting services. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that these employees where treated differently in their compensation packages and their opportunities for advancement within the company.

The settlement

Kaiser Permanente recently settled a racial discrimination class-action lawsuit for $11.5 million, in addition to instituting a comprehensive overhaul and antidiscrimination program to ensure that pay and treatment throughout the company is equitable and fair, regardless of an employee’s race. The company will also conduct an annual review of their pay systems.

An independent third-party

Like many settlements that include policy changes, in the Kaiser settlement, the company will retain an independent third-party consultant to help create, manage and monitor the new anti-discrimination programs and policies. This includes analyzing the corporate structure and jobs to create or find opportunities for Black employees to develop their career and find additional resources. The consultant will also ensure that the companies annual review of pay systems is done equitably.

What we learn from this

Essentially, San Diego County residents should take away from this that no matter how large the employer, systemic discriminatory issues can arise. This means that, regardless of an employer’s size, employers and employees must stay diligent to ensure that employment discrimination does not occur. Though, if an employee faces employment discrimination, they should contact an attorney immediately.