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Government Contractor Compliance & Regulatory Update

Health Insurer Settles OFCCP Retaliation Allegations for $372,000

Posted in Discrimination, OFCCP

A health insurance provider in Massachusetts has agreed to pay $372,739 to resolve an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) investigation into claims of discrimination and retaliation.  The insurer denies the allegations, stating that insufficient recordkeeping is to blame.

In a 2005 compliance review of the Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. facility in Watertown, Mass., OFCCP found that certain phone screening procedures discriminated against minority applicants.  The company settled that dispute in 2009.  As part of that settlement, the company agreed to hire 19 of the rejected minority applicants.  However, in March 2010, one of the applicants hired under the terms of the settlement filed a complaint with OFCCP alleging he was subsequently terminated due to his race and in retaliation for being a beneficiary of the 2009 settlement.

OFCCP concluded that the company had retaliated against twelve of the employees from the 2009 class.  To settle the allegations, Tufts Health Plan has agreed to pay approximately $285,301 in back pay and benefits, $27,418 in interest, and a lump sum of $60,019 “in lieu of rehire” to the class members.

The Boston Globe quotes a statement from Tufts Health Plan concerning the settlement:  “While the settlement allows both parties to move forward, Tufts Health Plan does not agree with the OFCCP’s position that it did anything wrong.  In fact, we have a starkly different view of the facts in this case.”  According to the company, records kept during the relevant period were insufficient to prove to the OFCCP that the health plan did not discriminate.