USAble Life (USAL), an insurance company based in Florida and Little Rock, will pay $90,000 to settle a retaliation discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, USAL first received notice around March 26, 2018 of the complaints of an employee in its Little Rock office to a third party that the company was discriminating against her based on her pregnancy, a form of sex discrimination, and disability for her anxiety and post-partem depression. On April 11, 2018, USAL fired her as retaliation for her complaints.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect employees who engage in protected activity, such as complaining about discrimination, from retaliation. The case was set for trial before U.S. District Court Judge Brian S. Miller on June 1 in Little Rock.
In addition to the monetary amount, the settlement provides that USAL will take the following steps at its Little Rock location:
* Amend and enforce its written policies prohibiting discrimination;
* Electronically disseminate a copy of its anti-discrimination and harassment policy to all employees;
* Provide training to its human resources, management and supervisory employees within 90 days;
* Prior to the training, USAL's highest chief executive officer will appear in person or by recorded video and state that USAL does not retaliate against employees who complain about discrimination and the consequences for engaging in such conduct; and
* Provide complaints of retaliation and USAL responses to the complaints to the EEOC.
"The retaliation provisions of Title VII and the ADA ensure that employees are free to complain about discriminatory practices in the workplace without fear of reprisal," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "The EEOC commends USAL and its attorney for working with the agency to resolve this lawsuit to the satisfaction of all."
Edmond Sims, acting district director of the Memphis District Office, added, "In fiscal year 2020, retaliation charges represented 55.8% of all charges filed - for many years it's been the most common type of discrimination charge. Indeed, that number demonstrates that employers have much to do in the workplace to protect employees' right to complain about discrimination."
USAL, a corporation with headquarters in Florida and in Little Rock, Arkansas, was founded in 2005 by two Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) organizations. USAL serves BCBS plans across the country, and its business focus is providing specialty insurance programs to BCBS's health insurance programs. The specialty insurance programs include disability, accident, hospital, cancer, critical illness and life coverage.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.