Workplace discrimination is something that most adults are familiar with through direct experience or word of mouth. Unfortunately, the reality of multiple discrimination types affecting one person is not often discussed. Multiple discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is harassed or mistreated because he or she is a member of more than one protected group. Cherry Creek Mortgage, a Colorado-based lender, found themselves in the middle of a highly publicized legal dispute when one of their employees accused the company of discriminating against her in multiple ways.
59-year-old Judith Dominguez began working for Cherry Creek Mortgage in 2016 as a loan originator. Dominguez enrolled herself and her spouse of three years, Patricia Martinez, in the company’s health insurance plan in February of 2016. The couple’s premiums were paid on time each month and Martinez was receiving medical treatment that included monitoring following two heart attacks along with a gall bladder surgery. In November 2016 Dominguez submitted her annual reenrollment paperwork only to be told in December that Cherry Creek would not provide coverage to the couple because the company would only provide medical insurance to heterosexual couples.
Dominguez and Martinez claimed that the actions of Cherry Creek and their insurance companies UnitedHealth Group and UnitedHealthcare Services retroactively denied coverage. As a result, the couple was billed for treatment that was covered while they were insured. When they contacted UnitedHealthcare, the couple stated that they were told Cherry Creek Mortgage is a “Christian-based company” and that the insurance company’s “hands were tied.” Dominguez filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) in February 2017 and a few weeks later she was transferred to a branch that closed one month later. Dominguez claims that human resources would not provide her with any information and the company continued using her name, signature, and picture to sell mortgages after she lost her job.
Multiple Discrimination Suit
The lawsuit filed by Patricia Martinez and her wife Judith Dominguez accuses Cherry Creek Mortgage Company and their health insurance companies of violating multiple anti-discrimination laws. Dominguez believes the initial refusal to renew the couple’s medical coverage along with the retroactive denial of claims for care received while the policy was active was influenced solely by the couple’s same-sex marriage. Dominguez believes her transfer to a branch that was closing and human resources refusal to provide her with information was a form of retaliation. Less than two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, the chairman of the Colorado-based company resigned and the company announced they would change their same-sex health insurance policy.
Fighting Against Discrimination
Being subjected to any form of workplace harassment or discrimination is stressful and being victimized for multiple reasons is often intolerable. If you or someone close to you is denied equal treatment or is facing retaliation after complaining about your situation, it is time for you to consult an employment attorney. The attorneys at HKM understand the multiple ways an employee can be victimized and we are prepared to offer the support you need. Contact us today at our conveniently located Denver, Colorado office so that we can begin providing you with the legal representation you deserve.