In the news this week is a story from Hawaii that is unbelievable. According to public news reports, the owner of Hawaii Healthcare Professionals, Inc., Carolyn Frutoz-De-Harne, fired an office coordinator at her Maui facility in 2008. The reason? According to management witness statements, Ms. Frutoz-De-Harne ordered the firing because she felt the employee, Debra Moreno “looked old”, “sounded old on the telephone” and was “like a bag of bones”. In contrast, the manager and supervisor in charge of Ms. Moreno felt she was a thorough and efficient worker. How old was the employee at the time of termination? Only 54!
As a result of the termination, Ms. Moreno filed an age discrimination charge with the EEOC under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. An investigation followed and the EEOC filed a suit against Ms. Frutoz-De-Harne and her company for unlawful age discrimination in 2010. Last week, U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay awarded damages of $193,236 be paid to Ms. Moreno. He also required proper procedures and training be put in to place at the facilities owned by Ms. Frutoz-De-Harne for all staff and supervisors. Future training programs are to cover topics such as discrimination/harassment, complaints, claims, retaliation, and prevention. A third party coordinator will be assigned to manage the efforts and the EEOC will conduct compliance oversight to ensure the order is being followed.
Interested in preventing discrimination at your place of work? StaffScapes helps employers with policies, training, and claims management as part of the services. To learn more, contact us today at 303-466-7864 or info@StaffScapes.com.