Rick Scott’s campaign has been facing increasing fire for its outreach to Latino Floridians since his top fundraiser quit last week and claims surfaced that Scott’s campaign staff made racially insensitive comments. Unfortunately for Scott, his association with claims of discrimination extends much further back. Before he became governor, Scott co-founded a chain of walk-in health care clinics called Solantic. One former Solantic employee – Dr. David Yarian – accused Scott of discriminatory hiring practices when it came to Latinos. Yarian claimed Scott encouraged “mainstream” hires when faced with a Latino job candidate, and that Scott said “no” to hiring an otherwise qualified candidate based on his “slight accent.”
In addition to Yarian, Solantic came under fire from multiple other employees with similar claims. Between 2003 and 2005, five Solantic supervisors and two employees claimed the company prevented hiring based on race, age or weight. These seven employees filed a combined lawsuit in 2006, and Solantic settled for an undisclosed sum in 2007. Between Solantic, Scott’s support for extreme Arizona-style anti-immigration law, and his recent campaign drama, the choice for Latino Floridians is clear: Rick Scott is bad for Florida.
Former Regional Medical Director Accused Scott Of Encouraging ‘Mainstream’ Hires When Faced With A Hispanic Job Candidate. According to The Miami Herald, “After Scott was forced to leave Columbia/HCA, he cofounded a chain of walk-in urgent-care centers, Solantic. A former regional medical director, David Yarian, accused him of encouraging ‘mainstream’ hires when faced with a Hispanic job candidate.” [Miami Herald, 6/29/10]
Former Solantic Employee: When A Hispanic Staffer Was About To Be Hired, He Said Scott Sent Him An E-Mail Encouraging ‘Mainstream’ Hires. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “In 2001, he co-founded a chain of walk-in urgent care centers, Solantic, centered around northeast Florida. He has faced controversies there, too. ‘I was watching television and saw his ad go on about him running for governor,’ said Dr. David Yarian, who was Solantic’s first regional medical director until he was fired after about five months. ‘My jaw dropped and I said, ‘Oh my God. I can’t have this.’ It scares me what he would do and how would he do it.’ Yarian said Scott was obsessed with appearances over qualifications and demanded only trim and fit employees be hired. When a Hispanic staffer was about to be hired, he said Scott sent him an e-mail encouraging ‘mainstream’ hires.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/6/10]
Former Employee: After Interviewing A Hispanic Man With A “Slight Accent… [Scott] Said, ‘Nope. All Our Employees Have To Be Mainstream.’” According to Salon, “In November, though, Yarian interviewed a Hispanic man for a supervisory nurse position. ‘He was great. He had all the qualities and experience I was after,’ Yarian says. ‘But he had a slight accent. When Rick found out, he said, ‘Nope. All our employees have to be mainstream.’ Yarian, who is married to an African-American woman, felt that Scott’s odd obsession with weight and appearance might have just crossed a legal boundary. ‘Mainstream? What did that even mean?’ he says he remembers thinking. ‘It was just a very, very uncomfortable feeling to realize this after you got to know him.’” [Salon, 10/1/09]
Between 2003 And 2005, Five Solantic Supervisors And Two Employees Claimed They Were Prevented From Hiring People Because Of Their Weight, Age, Or Race. According to Salon, “From 2003 to 2005, five Solantic supervisors, all working in different clinics, have claimed they were explicitly prevented from hiring people they deemed the most qualified because the candidates were either overweight, too old, Hispanic or black. The supervisors all prepared lawsuits with the same lawyer, claiming they were fired or forced to quit ‘because they did not want to enforce Solantic’s discriminatory practices,’ as their complaints state. Two employees corroborated specific incidents in their own lawsuits against the company.” [Salon, 10/1/09]
The Seven Employees Filed A Combined Lawsuit In 2006, And Solantic Settled The Case In 2007. According to Salon, “A combined suit on behalf of all seven plaintiffs was filed on July 14, 2006. On May 23, 2007, less than a year later, Solantic settled with all the women for an undisclosed sum. Because the settlement terms are confidential, with penalties for speaking publicly, all the plaintiffs contacted declined to be interviewed. Bowling, too, smiled tersely when asked about the cases, saying only; ‘Do we make hiring decisions based on a protected class of people? Absolutely not. And we have diversity training for our employees.’” [Salon, 10/1/09]