In a press release dated July 17, 2013, the OFCCP announced that Tufts Associated Health Plans has agreed to a $372,739 settlement related to charges of race-based discrimination in termination and retaliation. The text of the settlement may be viewed http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20130901.htm.
I recently described the prongs of retaliation claims related to the controversial Supreme Court ruling in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar. Today retaliation claims are the most common allegation made to EEOC, and there have been a number of important Supreme Court rulings on the topic in the last 10 years. However, retaliation settlements are somewhat unusual in the OFCCP realm, likely because of the proactive and audit-based nature of most OFCCP enforcement.
The current settlement follows a prior settlement in May 2009, at which time Tufts agreed to hire minority applicants as customer service representatives. That settlement was for less than $100,000. On March 10, 2010, one of the individuals hired under the agreement complained to the OFCCP that he was terminated based on his race, and was retaliated against because of his class membership status. It was alleged that minority class members were segregated from and held to stricter standards during training than non-class members. After an investigation of these charges, OFCCP alleged that there were 12 affected class members, all of whom were terminated. In addition to the monetary settlement, Tufts has agreed to provide training to its managers and trainers to enforce the equal opportunity and non-retaliations provisions of Executive Order 11246.
by Art Gutman, Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology