The U.S. Department of Labor and Cooper Health System have entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve alleged hiring and compensation discrimination at the teaching hospital and biomedical research facility in Camden.
South Jersey power broker George E. Norcross III is the chairman of the Cooper Health System Board of Trustees and member of the board since 1990.
A compliance review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that, from July 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017, Cooper Health System discriminated against 64 female, Black and Hispanic applicants for nurse associate PRN positions, and discriminated against 337 affected individuals employed in supervisor, nursing and clerical positions by paying them less than comparable male and white employees.
These actions violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
Cooper Health System has agreed to pay $625,000, including $514,463, in back pay and $110,536, in interest, to the affected candidates.
The contractor also will take steps to ensure its personnel and compensation practices, including recordkeeping and internal auditing procedures, meet legal requirements.
“When an employer accepts a federal contract, they must ensure equal opportunity in its hiring practices and pay their workers their full legally earned wages and benefits,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Northeast Regional Director Diana Sen in New York. “This agreement will have a lasting impact on Cooper Health System’s workforce and sets a standard for the industry.”
Cooper Health System has federal contracts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
OFCCP launched the Class Member Locator to identify applicants or workers who may be entitled to monetary relief and/or consideration for job placement as a result of OFCCP’s compliance evaluations and complaint investigations. If you think you may be a class member who applied for or was interested in the nurse associate PRN position at Cooper Health System during the investigative period, please use the Class Member Locator to learn more about this and other settlements. For more information, call OFCCP’s s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251.
OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.
Norcross is a Democrat who is suspected of cutting deals to benefit Christie in his 2009 and 2013 elections.
In 2015, Kevin O’Dowd—then Gov. Chris Christie’s chief of staff—became senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Cooper University Health Care after his nomination to become the state’s attorney general was derailed in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.