Judge Pares Discrimination Suit by Employee Against Health Care Company

Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices in Victorville, California

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Latino Southern California Permanente Medical Group employee can take his age discrimination claims against the health care company to trial, but not his national origin and retaliation allegations, a judge has ruled.

Plaintiff Gabriel Cardenas alleges in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that he was denied positions about 270 times due to his age and because the health care company wanted younger people for the jobs.

SCPMG moved to dismiss Cardenas' case. Judge Daniel S. Murphy heard arguments on May 3, took the case under submission and ruled Monday. In finding that there were no triable issues regarding Cardenas' national origin and retaliation claims, the judge said the plaintiff did not suffer any adverse employment actions and that there was no evidence of anyone making derogatory comments about the plaintiff's race or of a bias by a hiring manager against Latinos.

However, the judge said a jury should decide Cardenas' age discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination allegations, finding that Cardenas had shown that he was passed over for three jobs given to younger candidates with less experience than the plaintiff. Cardenas was 52 years old when he filed the suit in October 2021.

According to the suit, Cardenas' job duties include creating schedules, making daily assignments and coordinating various employee teams while also focusing on payroll, purchasing, department service orders, patient care review and special projects.

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 an article, "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.

Plaintiff has suffered lost wages and benefits as well as emotional distress, the suit states.

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