SOURCE: Handal & Associates

June 01, 2006 08:00 ET

Former WellPoint National Dental Director Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against WellPoint Charging Gender Discrimination and Retaliation for Whistle Blowing

VENTURA, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 1, 2006 -- A former female top-level executive and Dental Director for WellPoint Companies Inc. (NYSE: WLP), Dr. Karen Feldman, has filed a lawsuit against the company for allegations that she was discriminated against and retaliated against because of her whistle blowing activities. The suit seeks millions of dollars in damages.

In the lawsuit, Feldman claims WellPoint discriminates against female employees in promotions, compensation and job assignments in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. The suit also charges that WellPoint terminated Dr. Feldman after she contacted Connecticut State Government Officials to find out whether certain billing practices of WellPoint comported with state and federal law.

According to the suit, WellPoint terminated Feldman after discovering she contacted the Director of the Connecticut Medicaid Dental Program to inquire whether certain "special deals" the company had made with certain dentists to provide dental work to some Medicaid recipients and not to others was legal under state and federal law. After discovering Feldman's whistle blowing activities, WellPoint terminated Feldman, just four days after she had received praise and a bonus for her performance, and filled her position with a less qualified man who lacks legally required credentials to do the job.

The suit claims that WellPoint continues to use Dr. Feldman's name in its filings with state regulatory agencies even though she has not worked there since March of 2006.

WellPoint claims on its website that one in nine Americans receives coverage for their medical care through WellPoint's Health Plans. WellPoint is a Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 14 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

For more information please visit www.handal-law.com or contact Pamela C. Chalk by email at pchalk@handal-law.com or by phone at (619) 544-6400.

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