Houston Northwest Medical Center has agreed to a $950,000 settlement of a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit.
As many as 3,000 job applicants, employees and former employees could share in the award, said Kate Birenbaum, a lawyer for the workers.
Both sides expect U.S. Magistrate Judge Calvin Botley to approve the preliminary settlement order. Class members-applicants, employees and ex-employees of the hospital-will meet in January to decide whether to approve it.
Northwest settled to avoid a lengthy trial, said Randall Speck, the Washington lawyer who represents the hospital. The medical center denies it engaged in any discriminatory conduct in its employment practices, according to a statement.
The complainants alleged the hospital didn't hire many blacks and Hispanics for administrative or professional jobs. They also said it didn't promote or transfer many of the blacks and Hispanics it had on staff beyond their jobs as lower-level technicians.
Fourteen workers filed individual discrimination lawsuits starting in 1994 and were certified as a class in 1995.
The hospital is now owned by OrNda HealthCorp.