A 52-year-old Kaiser Foundation Health Plan employee is suing the company, alleging management told him he was denied positions more than 250 times due to his age and because the health care company wanted “someone younger” for the jobs.
Gabriel Cardenas’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges age and national origin discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation. He seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Wednesday.
A Kaiser spokesman issued a statement Thursday regarding the suit, saying “we cannot address this specific complaint as we do not comment on pending litigation. However, Kaiser Permanente is 100% committed to fair and equitable treatment of all of our employees by providing a work environment that is free of all forms of harassment, discrimination or retaliation.”
In his clerical job Cardenas creates schedules, makes daily assignments and coordinates various employee teams while also focusing on payroll, purchasing, department service orders, patient care review and special projects, according to the suit.
“Despite the low-level job title, plaintiff did his job and he did it well,” the suit states.
After getting his master’s degree in management in 2018, Cardenas completed nursing prerequisites at Los Angeles Harbor College and Kaiser’s program for new managers, the suit states.
Cardenas also is the author of, “Eliminating Waste in the Medical Field With the Aid of Six-Sigma Methodology,” the suit states.
In March 2019, Cardenas applied for an assistant manager position which was later given to a 24-year-old intern, the suit states.
Nine months later, he applied for a job as manager of administrative services, but the position was awarded to a 30-year-old applicant who ended up supervising and managing the plaintiff’s department, the suit states.
Cardenas complained in writing that he believed he was passed over for jobs more than 270 times because of his age, but his protest was ignored and not investigated, the suit alleges.
“(Cardenas) was told by a project manager that he was passed over for the subject jobs because Kaiser wanted `someone younger’ for the jobs,” the suit states.
Cardenas still works for Kaiser and performs duties beyond what his job requires, but he believes he has “no legitimate chance of being promoted or hired for another position within Kaiser because of his discrimination complaints,” the suit states.
Plaintiff has suffered lost wages and benefits as well as emotional distress, the suit states.