Kaiser Paid Black Director Less, Then Fired Him, He Claims
ALAMEDA, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser paid a black department director less than his white counterparts and then fired him, he claims in court.
Roland Wilson sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. for racial discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy and violation of the California Equal Pay Act.
In his lawsuit, Wilson claims that, despite consistently high performance reviews, he was paid less than white employees at his level. Even after a promotion, Wilson found himself making 20 percent less than the two white Senior Directors he was now supervising, he says. When Wilson was able to get a raise, a comparable white employee got one too, so the disparity continued, Wilson contends.
Wilson blames a white Senior Vice President for much of the difficulty. When Wilson was appointed to the role of Acting/Interim Vice President of Online Services, the Senior Vice President informed him that she would not refer to him by his title and would call him a “coordinator” instead, according to the complaint.
When a new Asian American Vice President was hired, she began to remove Wilson’s duties and give them to a white woman, the complaint continues. Wilson e-mailed her more than once about his concerns, but she ignored his messages and excluded him from meetings, according to the complaint. When Wilson recommended two black employees for promotion, she expressed disbelief, according to the complaint. Wilson contends she questioned their promotion potential because of their race.
Wilson went out for medical leave because of stress and anxiety, he says. Kaiser was slow to investigate Wilson’s discrimination complaints and did not contact all the witnesses he provided, he says. After informing him by letter that he had not been discriminated against based on race, Kaiser fired him, he says.
“Plaintiff is informed and believes defendant has a pattern and practice of discriminating against African Americans,” the complaint states.
Wilson seeks economic and non-economic damages, punitive and exemplary damages, reinstatement, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, equitable relief and a jury trial. He is represented by Scott Nakama and Jocelyn Burton of Burton Employment Law in Oakland.