Cerner Corp., a health information technology provider based in Kansas City, Missouri, has agreed to pay $1.8 million in settlements after a Department of Labor evaluation accused it of discriminating against Asian and Black job applicants for years.
Nearly 2,000 Asian and Black applicants reportedly applied to work at five Cerner locations between July 6, 2015 and June 30, 2019, but the company ultimately chose white applicants despite similar qualifications, the evaluation by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleged.
The OFCCP drew specific attention to the company’s Cerner Oaks Campus and Cerner Innovations Campus in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as its Cerner Corp. and Cerner Continuous Campus North Tower in Kansas City, Kansas. It concluded that the firm had violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating job applicants based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
“Working together, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Cerner Corp. will ensure that the issues identified in this compliance evaluation are resolved and that Cerner puts into place procedures to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity laws,” Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Carmen Navarro said in a statement.
The Labor Department said Cerner voluntarily agreed to resolve the allegations. The company will shell out $1,860,000 in back pay and interest to the 1,870 applicants who sought employment as medical billing account or patient account specialists, system engineers, software interns and technical solution analysts.
In addition to the financial agreement, Cerner, which has existing contracts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Veteran Affairs, will ensure discrimination-free hiring procedures.
Despite entering into an early resolution, Cerner reportedly denies the Labor Department’s allegations. The company has not released a statement regarding the agreement as of this writing.
Cerner was acquired in June by software company Oracle for $28.3 billion.