EEOC V.S UNITED HEALTH PROGRAMS OF AMERICA, INC.
On the 25th of April 2018, a federal jury in Brooklyn found that United Health Programs of America Inc., and its parent company Cost Containment Group Inc. (CGC), violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an organization that protects employees against discrimination, filed the lawsuit against CGC on behalf of 10 employees. The ten employees in question allegedly had religious beliefs and practices forced upon them. One employee was even wrongfully terminated for speaking against these practices. The jury found this termination to be a violation of federal law under Title VII.
What is Title VII?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Discrimination can include things like coercing employees to partake in religious practices or firing employees based on their protected class status.
Details of The Case
In this case, CGC employers allegedly pushed their religious beliefs and practices on their employees, creating what many of them described as a hostile work environment. While this kind of possible discrimination is rare, one where an employer may be coercing employees to participate in its religious practices, it may still be a violation of Title VII and thus a worker’s federal rights. Such actions may qualify for a reverse religious discrimination civil lawsuit.
The ten individuals represented by the EEOC were awarded $5.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The EEOC was also seeking injunctive relief, a court order prohibiting a specific action, against CGC to prevent possible future violations of federal law. The employee who was wrongfully terminated may look for back pay under the representation of the EEOC.
Discrimination can happen in any workplace and is often a nuanced and difficult issue to address. However, workers must remember that they are protected under federal law and should seek proper legal counsel when they believe their employment rights are being violated.
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