Allen Hospital to settle discrimination lawsuit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Allen Hospital to pay approximately $2 million to settle discrimination lawsuit

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Allen Hospital will likely pay out $1 million to people who claimed the hospital discriminated against them on the basis of race.

Spokesman Jim Waterbury said there were 69 claims made in the 2010 class action lawsuit which was filed by Robyn Meeks against the hospital after she claimed she was turned down for a number of positions.

Waterbury said of those 69 claims, 35 were validated by the claims administrator.

He said 20 of the 35 validated claims were made by people who were not hired but claimed they should have been, and 15 were made by people who work, or have worked, at Allen Hospital.

According to Waterbury, both sides have asked the court to approve a settlement that includes the following:

$1,050,000 in claims

$667,000 in legal fees for plaintiffs' attorneys

$250,000 to benefit non-profit organizations serving African Americans in Waterloo

$20,000 (or less) in expenses

According to Waterbury, as part of the consent decree, Allen Hospital promised to promote cultural awareness, sensitivity and competence in its workforce.

To date, Waterbury said the hospital has updated its Zero Tolerance policy to include a grievance committee of one member from Allen administration, one African American employee and one African American member from the community.

"This group would review any complaints or concerns regarding race issues raised by employees. As of this date, there have been no complaints for consideration," said Waterbury.

He said the hospital has conducted four mandatory half-day training sessions for managers, and it will continue sessions this year for new managers.

Additionally, the hospital created two 15-minute modules that all employees are required to take.

Waterbury said Allen Hospital has implemented a Diversity Awareness Team that helps educate employees about diversity around the community through posters, flyers and special events each month.
 
"This group is also expanding into community outreach to allow employees to experience need in the community," said Waterbury.
 
He said the hospital plans on introducing new initiatives in 2013, including expanding activities with the Diversity Awareness Team and getting partnering with local churches and associations to "get the word out about applying for work at Allen Hospital."
 
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