EEOC Settles Suit Charging Male Former Regional Vice President With Victimizing Male Former Senior Accounts Executive

MIAMI – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced 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 such complaints.

“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 www.eeoc.gov.