- A Milwaukee-based dental benefits administrator has agreed to pay $98,000 to settle claims that it twice refused to hire a temporary employee for a permanent position because of her race.
- Nartisha Leija, an African-American, began working Scion Dental as a temp and was said to have exhibited "solid job performance." She applied for permanent status twice but allegedly was told she could not be hired because she did not have a college degree. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued on her behalf and a judge moved the case toward trial, noting that the employer had hired several less-qualified, non-African-American applicants for the position — several of whom did not hold college degrees.
- In addition to the monetary settlement, the company agreed to provide training on discrimination, report any claims to EEOC and to report to the commission all hiring decisions through 2020.
It may seem obvious to HR that race discrimination in employment is illegal, but hiring managers may require training to ensure that hiring decisions are based on appropriate criteria. After all, front-line managers are responsible for a large number of discrimination and retaliation claims, experts continue to tell stakeholders.
Compliance training is a good first step, but it has to resonate with employees. Training also must be ongoing, and ingrained in company culture, experts recently told HR Dive. "For training to succeed," Ingrid Fredeen, vice president and senior product manager at NAVEXEngage said, "it has to be made available to employees in a culture that supports the messaging. If culture fails, then training fails."
Going beyond mere compliance training, some are working to address implicit biases. It's a tall order, but some research suggests unconscious bias training can be successful, especially if it's offered in a generic way: When employees accept that everyone has biases, they can be more willing to examine their own.