Latina Clinical Practice Manager Sues United Health and Optum for…

Ms. Barrios, a first generation immigrant from Mexico and a graduate of law enforcement training in the U.S., alleges that Andrews and others engaged in a systematic pattern of discrimination against Latina and other non-white employees. According to the lawsuit, Andrews disparagingly referred to employees by race and by the color of their skin, and directed Ms. Barrios, a supervisor, to hire more white employees. The complaint further alleges that Andrews made sexist and racist stereotypical comments about how Ms. Barrios and other Latina employees dressed, and made offensive comments about Ms. Barrios’ body (including comments about her “crack”). According to the complaint, Andrews referred to Hispanic female employees as “The Mexican with wide hips,” or “The Mexican with the big butt.” The lawsuit further alleges that Andrews referred to Hispanic employees as “Their kind,” or “Those people.”

Ms. Barrios repeatedly complained about Andrews’ conduct. However, rather than take any remedial action, Ms. Barrios alleges that the company retaliated against her. Despite having previously unblemished employment record, the lawsuit alleges, she was suddenly placed on a fabricated performance improvement plan and, then, fired.

“It is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on her race, national origin and gender, and it’s certainly illegal to fire an employee for raising such concerns to her employer,” said Gregory Helmer of Helmer Friedman LLP. Helmer added, “We look forward to asserting Ms. Barrios’ rights in court. Her claims deserve to be presented in a public forum, before a judge and jury. Ms. Barrios’ allegations echo the all-to-familiar fact pattern of an employee who tries to do the right thing by reporting unlawful conduct to her employer, only to find that, within a few weeks or months, she is out of a job while the harasser remains gainfully employed.”

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