Cardinal Health, a global health care services and products company, will pay $1.45 million and Los Angeles staffing agency AppleOne will revise its policies to resolve a racial harassment and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced Friday.
According to the EEOC, Black employees assigned by AppleOne to Cardinal Health’s Ontario facility, along with Black employees directly hired by Cardinal Health, were subjected to ongoing and unwelcome harassment based on their race.
In addition to the monetary relief, Cardinal Health and AppleOne have agreed to separate two-year consent decrees that include injunctive relief aimed at preventing workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The decrees include retaining an equal employment opportunity monitor, conducting audits, the review and revision of policies prohibiting discrimination and the distribution of those policies to direct and temporary employees, and establishing an internal complaint procedure.
Additionally, Cardinal Health and AppleOne agreed to maintain a toll-free complaint hotline and provide discrimination training for all employees. Last, Cardinal Health agreed to extend the decree an additional year if recommended by the EEO monitor.
The decrees will remain under the Los Angeles federal court’s jurisdiction for at least a two-year term.
“The EEOC has seen an increase in race harassment allegations across industries and localities,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “It is very important for employers and staffing agencies to be proactive in addressing these issues. Cardinal Health and AppleOne are commended for establishing changes within their workplaces that will have a positive impact on their employees and the communities they reside in.”
Rosa Viramontes, the EEOC’s Los Angeles District director, added that Cardinal Health and AppleOne “have put in place measures aimed at preventing discrimination and harassment that other employers should also consider.”
“Employers and staffing agencies need to understand that both entities bear the responsibility to address and correct harassment and retaliation in the workplace,” she said. “Employees should not have to choose between their livelihoods and the detrimental effects that race harassment can have on them.”
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