Kinston-based Affordable Care Inc. will pay $150,000 to settle sex and race harassment charges leveled by two female employees of an affiliated dentist in Massachusetts.
According to the complaint, Dr. Nelson Wood harassed Ariede Mills, a black woman, and Laura Carl, who is white. He would regularly proposition Mills and swat Carl on the buttocks. He referred to the two as “whining bitches,” made derogatory remarks about blacks and bragged that he had a relative who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Both women complained to Affordable Care, but the complaints were never investigated. After both filed complaints with the EEOC, Mills was fired in retaliation and Carl quit because of the ongoing harassment.
Under the settlement, each woman will receive $75,000. An independent EEOC coordinator will field and investigate all sexual harassment complaints at any Affordable Care location. Everyone at Affordable Care and its affiliates must undergo sexual harassment training.
Note: The dentist in this case probably thought his practice was too small to have to worry about Title VII. That was true for him, but not for Affordable Care. Small employers must know and follow the law, too, because any affiliation with a larger firm could make them subject to federal or state statutes banning discriminatory behavior.