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EEOC Resolves Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Claiming Employer’s Hiring Decision Was Based On Gender

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In a press release issued on October 7, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Northern Arizona Orthopedics. (NAO).  On September 4, 2019, the EEOC filed the gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Northern Arizona Orthopedics, Case No. 3:19-cv-08259, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process.  In this article, our Gainesville, Florida employment law attorneys explain the EEOC’s allegations against NAO and the Consent Decree.

Job Applicant Claims Gender Bias In Hiring

The EEOC brought the gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of Mike Anda (Anda).  The EEOC alleges that NAO violated Title VII by failing to hire Anda for one position because of his gender and failing to hire Anda for another position because of his complaint of gender discrimination.  Title VII protects both men and women from gender discrimination.  The protection against sex discrimination extends to all employees and applicants for employment.  Title VII also protects employees and job applicants when they complain about perceived sex discrimination.

EEOC Alleges Discriminatory Failure To Hire

NAO is a medical provider based in Flagstaff, Arizona that specializes in bone, joint, and spine health care treatment.  In August 2016, Anda applied for the position of medical assistant with NAO.  For the medical assistant position, NAO required a high school diploma and preferred candidates with a medical assistant certification.  Anda has a master’s degree and is a certified medical assistant.  In August 2016, NAO’s Executive Director, Meyers, interviewed Anda for the medical assistant position.

In September 2016, Meyers sent Anda an email informing him that he was not selected for the medical assistant position.  After deciding not to hire Anda, NAO promoted a woman, Gorce, to the medical assistant position.  Gorce has a bachelor’s degree and is not a certified medical assistant.  In addition to selecting Gorce over the more qualified Anda, the EEOC also claims that other men applied for the medical assistant position and were not selected for the position despite being more qualified than Gorce.

EEOC Alleges Retaliatory Failure To Hire

In September 2016, after not being hired for the medical assistant position, Anda complained to Meyers that he felt he was not hired for the position because he is a man.  In March 2017, Anda emailed Meyers to inquire about whether NAO had any full-time positions available.  The next day, Meyers responded to Anda in writing by telling him, “in your previous correspondence to me, you accused me of having a gender bias in my hiring practices . . . I would  appreciate you no longer reaching out to our practice.”

Because of Meyer’s response, Anda did not apply for numerous available positions at NAO.  In July 2017, however, Anda applied for the position of DME Coordinator because he thought Meyers was not the hiring official for that position.  NAO’s HR Manager, according to the EEOC, was the hiring official for the DME Coordinator position.  The HR Manager, the EEOC claims, was aware that Anda made a complaint of gender discrimination prior to his application for the DME Coordinator position.  Despite his qualifications for the position, NAO did not interview or hire Anda for the DME Coordinator position.  The EEOC claims that Anda was not selected for the position because of his complaint of sex discrimination.

Consent Decree Settling Lawsuit

In the four-year Consent Decree settling the case, which was signed by U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell on October 4, 2019, NAO agreed to pay $165,000 to resolve the gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.  The Consent Decree prohibits NAO from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex and from retaliating against employees in the future.  In the Consent Decree, NAO agreed to revise its equal employment opportunity and hiring policies. In the Consent Decree, the EEOC also required NAO to provide training to its employees on the federal anti-discrimination laws.

EEOC Fights Gender Discrimination

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  In enforcing the federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex discrimination.  In a press release issued by the EEOC on October 7, 2019 regarding the case, a Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, Mary Jo O’Neill, stated that “[f]ederal law protects all workers from sex discrimination.”  “This case is an example,” Ms. O’Neill explained, “of the EEOC’s commitment to ensure that all applicants are considered on their merits, not on their gender.”

Consultation With Gainesville Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Gainesville, Florida employment discrimination attorneys have almost two decades of experience representing employment discrimination victims in cases before the EEOC.  If you have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace or have questions about your rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Gainesville, Florida employment discrimination lawyers.  Our employment and labor law attorneys take employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis.  This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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