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EEOC vs HCA Healthcare: A discrimination lawsuit and lesson

Having a strong DEI policy doesn’t protect your business against discrimination claims, as this healthcare company found out in this lawsuit.

A cut off view of a woman reviewing documents in front of a laptop about discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims HCA Healthcare Care, Inc. violated federal law for not promoting an employee due to his race, age, and national origin. Furthermore, the EEOC claims that HCA subsequently fired the employee in retaliation for making an internal complaint to the employer. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division seeking injunctive and monetary relief after the parties were unable to reach a settlement in pre-litigation conciliation. 

What the lawsuit is about 

The lawsuit alleges that an Asian American employee was denied a promotion in favor of a younger, underqualified white candidate. The white candidate who received the promotion did not meet the minimum requirements for the position, but the Asian American employee did. This conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was also violated as the Asian American was over 40 years old. When the Asian American complained to the employer, the EEOC alleges that HCA Healthcare retaliated. The employee was written up and berated before being terminated. 

Who is HCA Healthcare? 

According to its website, HCA Healthcare “is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services with 180 hospitals and approximately 2,300 sites of care…” HCA employees over 275,000 people across its facilities.  In 2022, they had over 37 million patient encounters across 20 states and the United Kingdom. Their website cites a “foundation of inclusion” as one of their core values. 

“HCA Healthcare is dedicated to ensuring equitable access to high-quality care for our patients, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace for our colleagues, and cultivating and sustaining relationships with suppliers and community partners that broaden our reach and deepen our understanding in the communities we serve.”

HCA issued this statement concerning the lawsuit, “Our culture is built on a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect – for our patients and for each other. We are disappointed that the EEOC chose to file this legal action and intend to vigorously defend ourselves through the legal process.”

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The EEOC’s press release states, “The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.”

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.


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