A 59-year-old Black worker is suing Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., alleging she was passed over for more than 150 jobs for which she was qualified because of her race and age.
Adriane Nolan’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges race and age discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Wednesday.
A Kaiser representative issued a statement Thursday, saying, “We are very proud of our efforts to promote a widely diverse and inclusive workplace and our successes in this regard have received widespread recognition from many independent organizations, including being named one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity for 15 years. We value our family of employees who are Kaiser Permanente’s most valuable resource and remain committed to ensuring all our employees feel valued and treated fairly.”
But according to the suit, Nolan applied without success for 162 jobs within Kaiser.”
“Plaintiff was not promoted or hired for any of the 162 jobs,” the suit states.
Nolan was hired to fill an administrative position in September 2013 and two years later was promoted to project manager for Kaiser’s medical imaging, technology and informatics, the suit states. She obtained an MBA in 2016, the suit states.
“This job was expected to be a stepping stone into a better paying, salaried true management job within Kaiser,” according to the lawsuit. “Almost seven years later, and even though plaintiff has worked hard and has gone above and beyond to fulfill the tasks asked of her, Plaintiff remains stuck in this position.”
Nolan, one of the older employees in her department, made clear in her promotion applications that she was a high-performer who met the valid job requirements that Kaiser posted, the suit states.
“However, plaintiff was passed over for numerous jobs within Kaiser, time and time again,” the suit alleges.
Meanwhile, the promotions sought by Nolan were filled by less experienced, less qualified and less educated employees, who were “outside plaintiff’s protected class,” the suit states.
After Nolan complained to Kaiser management and human resources that she thought she was being “blackballed” and denied jobs, promotions or transfers due to her race, she found out that her employer viewed her as a “red flag” and not a worthy candidate for the positions sought because of her complaints, the suit states.
Nolan further learned that Kaiser “engages in discriminatory hiring and promotion policies against Black and Latino employees, who are under- represented in positions of management and leadership,” the suit states.
Nolan continues to work for Kaiser, but the company’s alleged discrimination has caused Nolan physical and emotional suffering and she has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and stress, some of which has required her to take disability leaves of absence, the suit states.