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Kaiser Settles “Racial Glass Ceiling” Case for $11.5 Million

A class action lawsuit against Kaiser claimed the company had a “racial glass ceiling,” in which black employees were prevented unfairly from getting equal pay and promotions at the company. Kaiser recently agreed to settle the case for $11.5 million, pending court approval.

Case background

Employees in the complaint claimed the company had a policy in place that works as a de facto glass ceiling for California-based black workers. The plaintiffs alleged black employees with similar performance evaluations as non-black employees would not be promoted in the same manner. It describes a system in which black employees would apply for multiple promotions and never be selected, even if they were more qualified than white employees who ended up receiving the promotion.

In addition, the plaintiffs also stated they performed the work of higher-level employees without getting compensated at the appropriate rate for those workers.

Racial discrimination cases can be difficult to prove in an employment context. For a plaintiff to be successful, they must demonstrate they are a member of a protected class, was qualified for a promotion for which they applied, and that the position stayed open (or was filled by a similarly or lesser qualified person) after their rejection.

If the employer is able to provide a reason why it did not choose the employee for a promotion, the employee will need to be able to prove this reason was not true fi they are to succeed in demonstrating racially motivated promotion decisions.

Employees can demonstrate the explanation is a pretext for discrimination if they are to showcase a history of people of other protected classes being treated better, inconsistency in reasons offered by employers for their decisions, or evidence that the employee selected for the promotion was not as qualified.

For more information about the legal steps you should take if you believe you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.

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