Employment Lawsuit Filed in Hospital over “No Black Nurses” Request

by Bisnar Chase on February 23, 2013

A Michigan hospital is facing a lawsuit after it allegedly honored the request of a father that only white nurses care for his baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. According to an ABC News report, Tonya Battle, a 49-year-old black nurse sued Hurley Medical Center for discrimination and violation of the civil rights act after the nurse manager reassigned her due to the man’s request for no black nurses.

A note, which read, “Please, no African American nurses to care for the baby per dad’s request,” was taped to the baby’s clipboard. The man also pulled up his sleeve to reveal a swastika, Battle stated in the complaint.

Although a hospital lawyer told staff that this was illegal, the lawsuit alleges that the black nurses were intentionally not assigned to the baby for the remainder of his or her stay in the hospital over the next month.

The hospital’s administrators responded in a news conference that the father was told his request cannot be granted and that all nurses remained available to care for the baby. Battle, a Hurley employee for 25 years, has sought damages for her distress, harassment and humiliation.

Federal Laws Against Discrimination

U.S. Code Section 2000E-2 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color or sex. The law states that it is illegal for an employer to “fail to or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

The same section also states that it is illegal for employers to “limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Justice for Wronged Employees

It is disappointing that any employer in this day and age would honor the request of an apparently racist individual. Discrimination based on race, color, national origin or gender can in addition to hurting one’s career also cause a high level of emotional distress.

Victims of such discrimination are obviously humiliated and embarrassed when they are singled out for harassment or ridicule. Federal and state laws protect all of us against such workplace discrimination. Those who have been subjected to such discrimination or harassment would be well advised to contact an employment lawyer who will fight for their rights and ensure that justice is served.

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