Cardinal Health, AppleOne Settle California Harassment and Retaliation Suit for $1.45M

July 19, 2021

Global health care services and products company Cardinal Health will pay $1.45 million to resolve a racial harassment and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission.

Cardinal Health, along with California-based staffing agency AppleOne, also have agreed to implement sweeping injunctive relief as part of the settlement.

According to the EEOC, African American employees directly employed by Cardinal Health or assigned to work for Cardinal Health by AppleOne were subjected to ongoing and unwelcome harassment based on their race.

When employees complained, neither Cardinal Health nor AppleOne took immediate and corrective action regarding the harassment, allowing the hostile work environment to fester, according to the EEOC. The EEOC further charged that employees who did complain were retaliated against, disciplined and terminated, while others felt that they had no choice but to quit.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Cardinal Health and Howroyd-Wright Employment Agency dba AppleOne Employment Services) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

Cardinal Health agreed to pay $1.45 million to resolve the suit. In addition to the monetary relief, Cardinal Health and AppleOne Staffing agreed to separate two-year consent decrees that include injunctive relief aimed at preventing workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The decrees include retaining an equal employment opportunity monitor; conducting audits; the review and revision of policies prohibiting discrimination and the distribution of those policies to direct and temporary employees; and establishing an internal complaint procedure.

Cardinal Health and AppleOne Staffing agreed to maintain a toll-free complaint hotline and provide discrimination training for all employees. Lastly, Cardinal Health agreed to extend the decree an additional year if recommended by the EEO monitor.

The decrees will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for at least a two-year term.

AppleOne provides employment services both domestically and internationally. Cardinal Health is a global, integrated healthcare services and products company which provides customized solutions for hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician offices worldwide.