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EEOC files sex discrimination lawsuit against 2 Nevada companies

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit Thursday that claims Nevada Health Centers Inc. and Ultracare Las Vegas violated federal law when they removed a male ultrasound technician from his position because of his gender.

“We see sex discrimination occurring in all types of workplaces, and employers need to realize that EEOC is fully committed to eradicating this form of unlawful conduct against anyone,” Richard Burgamy, director of the agency’s Las Vegas office, said in a statement.

Lisa Dettling, vice president of mission strategy at Nevada Health, said her company takes such matters seriously.

“At this time, we have not been notified of a lawsuit and therefore, we cannot comment,” she said.

According to its website, Nevada Health is a nonprofit organization that provides health cares services to 50,000 people throughout Nevada each year.

A call to Ultracare Las Vegas was not returned Thursday.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, Ultracare hired David Matlock as a full-time ultrasound technician on Nov. 19, 2012, and assigned him to work for Nevada Health as part of a contract between the two companies.

Under the contract, Ultracare provided ultrasound technicians at Nevada Health facilities. Matlock’s duties included performing transvaginal ultrasounds.

Because Matlock is male, Nevada Health had a female employee act as chaperone when he had to conduct such ultrasounds, according to the lawsuit. However, sometime in December 2012, Nevada Health decided to stop providing Matlock with a chaperone.

According to the lawsuit, Nevada Health then asked Ultracare “to dispatch either a female escort or a female ultrasound technician.”

“As a result of Nevada Health’s request, defendant Ultracare decided not to assign David Matlock to work for defendant Nevada Health because of his gender (male) and replaced him with a female ultrasound technician,” the lawsuit alleges.

Matlock last worked for Nevada Health around Jan. 4, 2013, according to the complaint.

“Sex discrimination is simply unlawful for good reasons — it creates roadblocks to equal employment opportunities,” Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Nevada, said in a statement. “Employers need to ensure that such gender preferences do not result in sex discrimination, which inhibits a person’s ability to be employed.”

According to the EEOC, the alleged conduct violates prohibitions against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit against the two companies in U.S. District Court in Nevada after first attempting to reach a settlement through its conciliation process.

EEOC’s lawsuit seeks back pay, benefits and punitive damages for Matlock, as well as an injunction to prevent further discrimination by the two companies.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Find @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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