Owning and operating a business right now has never been more complicated. Indeed, even with all of the resources available to businesses and business owners, system issues can still occur, regardless of the resources available to employers. An example of these issues was recently revealed by a local, large employer.
An example of systemic issues
The California company at issue here, is Oakland, California, employer, Kaiser Permanente. After an internal investigation and racial discrimination class-action lawsuit, the company agreed to change its policies and procedures that affect its Black employees in administrative support and consulting services.
Specifically, Kaiser is creating new compensation and workforce advancement policies to help ensure that all employees are treated fair and equitably. In addition, Kaiser agreed to pay $11.5 million. And, they will bring in an independent consultant to craft these new policies, as well as monitor them to ensure they are successful.
The next steps
Now, a hearing is set to approve this proposed settlement for the over 2,000 class members. Once approved, a third-party administrator will equitably distribute the settlement funds to the class members.
What can other employers learn?
For Irvine, California, employers, the biggest take-away is that discriminatory policies and procedures can happen to any company, regardless of the size. Policies may seem racially neutral, but in practice are not. And, sometimes, managers create and perpetuate racially discriminatory policies and procedures that the broader company and upper management is not aware. This is why it is so important for companies to retain counsel to periodically overview policies and procedure to ensure that companies are protected.