Minorities disproportionately affected? Expect lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

If a pattern of employer practices seems to discriminate against a particular class of employees, expect trouble. If one employee sues, the court won’t dismiss the case until after expensive and time-consuming pretrial proceedings—if at all.

Recent case: Kathryn, who is black, was hired as a director for Humana. Almost immediately, she noticed that black employees were treated differently. For example, her contract provided a 15% bonus potential, while white directors could earn 25%. And several black directors were fired while no white directors were.

When she lost her job, she sued, alleging race discrimination and requesting class-action status.

Humana tried to get the case summarily dismissed, but to no avail. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a pattern like the one alleged deserved exploration. (Keys v. Humana, No. 11-5472, 6th Cir., 2012)

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