Insurance Company Fired Employee Over Her Discrimination Complaint, Federal Agency Charges
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - USAble Life, an insurance company located in Little Rock, Ark., violated federal law when it fired an employee for complaining about discrimination related to her pregnancy and her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. Founded in 2005 by two Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) organizations, USAble Life serves BCBS plans across the country, providing specialty insurance programs to BCBS's health insurance programs.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee complained about pregnancy and disability discrimination to both BCBS and USAble Life. USAble Life terminated the employee on April 11, 2018, because of how the employee handled her discrimination complaints to BCBS.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect employees who engage in such protected activity from retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas Western Division, Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-00846, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.
"An employer cannot punish an employee for complaining about treatment that the employee reasonably believes constitutes discrimination," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. "Terminating an employee for her complaint creates a chilling effect in the workplace and discourages others from complaining."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.