$372,739 Settlement in Discrimination Case Against Federal Contractor

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. has agreed to pay $372,739 to 12 Asian, Hispanic and African American workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement settles allegations that the Massachusetts-based federal contractor violated provisions of Executive Order 11246 by retaliating against employees that OFCCP had determined were victims of discrimination in an earlier investigation.

In May 2009, Tufts agreed to hire minority workers as customer service representatives to settle an OFCCP finding that the contractor's hiring practices discriminated against minorities. On March 10, 2010, OFCCP received a complaint of discrimination from an individual hired under that agreement, alleging he had been terminated due to his race and retaliated against due to his status as an OFCCP class member. The worker alleged that minority class members were segregated from other employees and held to stricter standards than non-class members during the training program.

OFCCP's subsequent investigation determined that retaliation against 12 class members occurred in the timing, application and implementation of the company's customer service training program, resulting in their termination from the program.

In addition to paying $372,739 to the class members, Tufts has agreed to ensure full compliance with Executive Order 11246 by providing training to managers and trainers involved in enforcing the equal employment opportunity and non-retaliation provisions of the Executive Order.

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. offers a full array of health coverage options including Medicare Part D prescription benefits, which it offers under a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the operation of a Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The total contract amount for Part D prescription benefits for the period of January through May 2012 alone was $84.5 million.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. 

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