MIAMI – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) announced on October 1, 2007 that United HealthCare of Florida, Inc.
will pay $1.8 million to settle a same-sex harassment and retaliation
lawsuit charging that the male former regional vice president of key
accounts subjected a male former top senior account executive to repeated
verbal sexual harassment in Sunrise, Fla.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division (Case No. 06-61483-CIV-MOORE/GARBER),
after the high ranking senior account executive complained several times to
upper management, United HealthCare retaliated against him by subjecting him
to discipline and denying him stock options and commissions. The account
executive even complained to the former and current chief executive officers
of the employer’s parent company (United HealthGroup, Inc.) who did not take
remedial action to correct the unlawful discrimination. The top executive
could no longer tolerate the retaliatory conduct, so he quit, the EEOC said.
The three-year consent decree settling the suit requires
United HealthCare of Florida to pay $1.8 million to the former employee in
back pay, damages, and his private attorneys’ fees and costs. United
HealthCare must also distribute a new anti-harassment policy to all of its
employees in Florida; train all its employees (including managers) at the
Sunrise facility on federal employment discrimination laws including sexual
harassment and retaliation; post a notice of resolution of the lawsuit; and
report to EEOC twice annually about any harassment or retaliation complaints
based on harassment, and the actions taken by United HealthCare to resolve
“The EEOC will continue its comprehensive efforts to
enforce its mission of eradicating sexual harassment in the workplace –
whether the victim is a male or female, an hourly worker or an executive,”
said EEOC’s Miami District Director Federico Costales.
Nora E. Curtin, regional attorney of the Miami District
Office, added, “Employers cannot disregard a complaint of sexual harassment
because it comes from a male employee. All employees are entitled to a
workplace where they are not targeted because of their gender.”
Sexual harassment charge filings by men (reported to the
EEOC and state/local agencies nationwide) have trended upward from 9% of all
sexual harassment charges in Fiscal Year 1992 to 15% in FY 2006.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws
prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender
(including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age,
disability and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC is available
on its web site at