Kaiser Permanente paying $11.5 million to settle racial discrimination class-action lawsuit

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Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., Announced Thursday that it was paying $ 11.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against employees based on race. This ended a two-year negotiation process in which more than 2,000 black employees were involved in advisory services and administrative support.

In addition to the money, Kaiser agrees to implement comprehensive workplace programs to ensure that compensation and advancement opportunities for African American employees are fair and equitable.

In the future, Kaiser will hire an independent consultant to develop and conduct a thorough review of the job analysis, which must be completed within one year. The review is used to create additional equity opportunities for black employees, including career development guides and development resource guides for roles within job families.

The hospital has also agreed to conduct an annual salary analysis for specific occupational classifications by an independent consultant for three years. The basic remuneration, the incentive remuneration and the promotions with regard to fairness – and the rapid redevelopment – are checked for any existing differences. Kaiser will also continue the annual salary reviews and appoint an internal compliance officer to oversee the implementation of these guidelines and continued compliance with the settlement agreement.

Some of the structural changes the organization has promised include investing in more leadership development initiatives for historically underrepresented groups; additional training for staff and management on racial prejudice and justice, including upstander intervention and training on racial justice; and debiasing programs for those involved in the enforcement of company equal opportunities in employment policies.


The deal comes just days after former Minneapois police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death sparked heated national talk about race and the treatment of minorities and disadvantaged groups.

It spurred Minister of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to swear to combat racism as a serious threat to public health

Over the past year, racial inequalities, brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts, as well as public order and funding, have put the health community on the front lines to ensure equitable care for vulnerable populations.

Earlier this month, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Racism Becomes a Serious Public Health Threat. Meanwhile, health systems and doctors have called for equality in the treatment of all people. Doctors at Mass General Brigham and Johns Hopkins Medicine said they wanted to end the eradication of harmful languages ​​such as the clinical diagnosis of Red Man Syndrome.


The next step for the class action lawsuit is for the court to set a date for the hearing to preliminarily approve the settlement. If approved, it will result in the third party administrator notifying the 2,225 class members. When the court later grants final clearing approval, the third party administrator will allocate clearing amounts to each qualified class member based on an objective formula.


“As a current African-American employee, I came forward to raise issues of racial justice and strengthen our workplace,” said plaintiff Charleta Dabrowski. “I support new programs that aim to offer black, indigenous and colored people equal wages and fair opportunities at Kaiser Permanente.”

“As a mission-driven organization, we are responsible for living our values ​​by strengthening our inclusive culture and expanding our work to eliminate any differences and their causes,” said Christian Meisner, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer on behalf the emperor accused. “For this reason, we have invited the plaintiffs to participate in a negotiation process that led to this agreement. Throughout Kaiser Permanente, we are intensifying our efforts to advocate fair and equitable treatment, opportunity and advancement and accountability for justice at all levels from to anchor. ” We will continue to promote positive change, equity, and health for all – within our organization and within our communities. “

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the author: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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