March 22, 2005
Written by C.N.
The Contra Costa Times reports that the University of California, which operates the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (one of the country’s most important military laboratories), has just agreed to settle a lawsuit in which hundreds of Asian American engineers and scientists alleged systematic pay and promotion discrimination against it, for the amount of 1.2 million dollars. However, as the article notes, several of the original plaintiffs opted out of the settlement:
Under the tentative settlement, UC will pay $15,000 each to four of the nine class representatives, up to $765,000 to be shared by the rest of the class, and $350,000 in legal fees and costs. Five of the nine class representatives who originally filed the suit, including Ling, have already decided not to participate in the settlement and are continuing with the lawsuit.
“Our people opted out because it’s a bad deal for them, and they think it’s a bad deal for the class,” said Richard Hoyer, a San Francisco lawyer who represents the five employees. “You’re talking about decades of discrimination and the class members are getting something like $1,500 apiece for all that. For our clients, that’s much less than they deserve.”
The article also mentions that this settlement follows on the heels of a similar settlement brought against the U.C. for gender discrimination:
Last year, UC settled a class-action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. UC agreed to pay $9.7 million to more than 3,000 women and to spend $1.7 million to raise the salaries of all women at the lab by 1 percent. The lab and UC admitted no wrongdoing in that case either. Of the 3,200 women included in the class, 161 opted out of the settlement, retaining their rights to sue the lab individually.
Absolutely incredible. Here you have an institution of higher learning (the University of California), representing perhaps the most diverse and multicultural state in the union, and who apparently has systematically dicriminated against its workers on the basis of gender and Asian American ethnicity. These workers apparently worked in conditions that amounted to a white collar sweatshop — disposable labor who the company’s executives thought that they could easily exploit like some cheap third world peasants.
The University of California needs to clean up their act, big time. I hope the few plaintiffs who did not settle take the U.C. for everything they’re worth.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Job Discrimination Settlement" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/03/job-discrimination-settlement/> ().
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