I think when most of us hear about a sex discrimination lawsuit we have a tendency to think a woman has filed a claim for discrimination on the basis of her sex. We would probably be right the majority of the time, however, not always, as witnessed by a case settled in Las Vegas.
The case involved a company in Las Vegas that hired, and then provided to clients, ultrasound technicians. In the middle of a contract with a local health center, the company hired and placed a male ultrasound technician with the health center. Within just a couple of weeks the health center contacted the company which provided the technician and asked to have him removed. The company complied with the request of the client and removed the male technician and terminated his employment. The lawsuit contends that the male technician was terminated because of his gender.
Where there is smoke there is fire?
Both the placement firm and the health center were sued. The suit against the health center is still in litigation, but the case against the placement provider has been settled. According to the press release:
[The] ultrasound technician provider, will pay $15,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) … In addition to monetary relief, [The company] will implement injunctive relief focused on ensuring equal employment opportunities for its employees, regardless of gender. [The company] agreed to train its management on the importance of non-discrimination in the recruitment, hiring, placement, and discharge of its employees. [The company] also agreed to report any gender discrimination complaints and to provide reports on its recruitment, hiring, and placement practices.
Although the $15,000 is not a substantial fine, tacking on the costs associated with training and the constant scrutiny by the EEOC, and the bad publicity raises this to a level that is probably more expensive than the company wanted to spend.
Rather than kowtowing immediately to the health center’s request to remove the employee the placement provider could have pointed out to the center that it is illegal to discriminate against men as ultrasound technicians. If the health center did not comply the ethical business practice would have been to cancel the contract, however, in lieu of that the placement provider should not have fired the technician, rather they should have worked very hard to find him another working home. Instead their mistake compounded the health center’s mistake and ultimately everyone lost.