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Black Kaiser Employees Reach $11.5 Million Race Bias Settlement

April 22, 2021, 7:52 PM

Kaiser Permanente will pay $11.5 million to settle a class action alleging the plan’s compensation and performance policies discriminate against Black employees, attorneys for the class announced today.

Black employees at Kaiser entities in California have been underpaid, under-promoted, and undervalued, the class alleged.

The settlement covers a class of around 2,225 Black employees in administrative support and consulting services roles. According to a statement by the class counsel, the agreement also requires Kaiser to retain an independent consultant to develop and manage a job analysis review, which will be used to create additional opportunities including career development guides.

Kaiser will also make several structural changes including investing in leadership development for historically underrepresented groups, and additional training for employees and management on racial bias and equity. Those employees engaged in enforcing company policy will also undergo de-biasing programs, the statement said.

“As a mission-driven organization, we hold ourselves accountable for living our values by strengthening our inclusive culture and expanding our work to address any disparities and their root causes,” said Christian Meisner, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Kaiser. “Across Kaiser Permanente we are increasing our efforts to advocate for fair and just treatment, opportunity, and advancement as well as embedding accountability for equity at all levels of the organization. We will continue to promote positive change, equity, and total health for all – inside our organization and within our communities.”

The parties have been negotiating for two years, and the complaint and proposed settlement were filed today in San Francisco Superior Court.

Medina Orthwein LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP represent the class. Grube Brown & Geidt represents Kaiser.

The case is Stewart v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan Inc., Cal. Super. Ct., No. CGC21590966, 4/22/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at mallsup@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com