$1.95 Million to Settle Retaliation Claims; Training Ordered

Friday, April 28, 2017

The American Dental Association has agreed to pay $1.95 million to resolve two charges of discrimination which were investigated by the Chicago District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.

Based on its investigation, EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the American Dental Association's former chief legal counsel, Tamra Kempf, and the director of human resources were discharged in retaliation for com­plain­ing to the board of directors about potential violations of federal anti-discrimination laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The conciliation not only provides monetary relief to the charging parties, but also ensures that the association will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination and retaliation from occurring in the future. The association will conduct training on Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA for all employees at its Chicago headquarters, post a notice of EEOC finding and conciliation visible to all employees, and make all required records available to EEOC for inspection for the duration of the two-year agreement.

The American Dental Association denies that it engaged in unlawful conduct, but a representative for the American Dental Association released the following statement:

The American Dental Association is pleased to be able to reach this amicable resolution of the allegations raised by Tamra Kempf and the former director of HR, and sincerely regrets the events that led to this dispute. Ms. Kempf and the former director of HR were dedicated and loyal employees whose primary motivation was the protection and furtherance of the interests of the association. As sometimes happens in business, differences arose between them and other members of the management team as to how various issues should be approached and handled, but this does not diminish the value of the many contributions that each made to the American Dental Association during their tenure. The associ­ation regrets that its actions led them to believe that they were retaliated against, and apologizes for any conduct that they may have construed as retaliation.

According to Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago's District Office, this resolution demonstrates the critical role that human resources professionals and legal staff play in ensuring that corporations comply with the nation's equal employment opportunity laws.

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