The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission says it has settled a race discrimination charge filed with the commission against Hurley Medical Center over allegations that black nurses were forbidden from treating a white baby.
The EEOC will conduct annual non-discrimination training for the management staff of the hospital and partner with the hospital on a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at educating and developing youth from Flint and the surrounding Genesee County community as part of a five-year collaborative agreement.
“I am pleased that we are able to engage in this partnership and receive the expert resources of the EEOC in a collaborative fashion,” Melany Gavulic, Hurley president and CEO, said in a statement sent to The Flint Journal by the EEOC. “All of these initiatives, in partnership with the EEOC, will continue to move us forward in our unending commitment to provide clinical excellence and service to people.”
Hurley could not be reached for further comment Friday morning.
The agreement also includes a variety of internal programs focused on workforce development involving youth in the community.
The hospital agreed to pay nearly $200,000 in March to settle a lawsuit that claimed the hospital discriminated against a nurse when it refused to let her treat an infant because she is black.
Nurse Tonya Battle, who works in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, filed a lawsuit claiming the hospital discriminated against her when it fulfilled a father’s request not to let black nurses treat his child. Both sides announced they settled the suit Feb. 22. The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.
Hurley agreed to pay Battle $110,000 as part of the settlement. Hurley also agreed to pay two other employees, Lakisha Bah Stewart and Latoya, $41,250 each to settle the claims.
Stewart and Butler, who also work at the hospital, were added to the discrimination lawsuit as part of an amended complaint. Both are also black.
The hospital also agreed to staff an “employee advocate” and undertake a “root cause analysis” with the goal of creating an action plan, according to the settlement agreement.
The employee advocate would deal with hospital administration and work on behalf of the hospital’s employees.
The father, who was not named in the lawsuit, told the supervisor that he did not want a black nurse taking care of his baby, the suit alleges. The father allegedly rolled up his sleeve and showed a tattoo that was believed to be a swastika while talking with the supervisor, the suit says.
According to the discrimination lawsuit, the supervisor then reassigned the infant to a different nurse and posted a note stating, “No African American nurse to take care of baby,” on the assignment clipboard.
A lawsuit is still outstanding against the hospital over the incident.
Another lawsuit over the incident is still ongoing. It involves a fourth nurse, Carlotta Armstrong.
The lawsuit, filed in February, echoes the claims made by Battle.
Attorney Tom Pabst, who represents Armstrong, said depositions in the case prove that Hurley has not been forthright in explaining how it handled the issue and he looks forward to the truth being presented at trial.
“I think people should know what Hurley did,” Pabst said.
Pabst said he hopes the case will go to trial by the end of the year.
Article by Gary Ridley, visit: www.mLIVE.com
The Linesch Firm provides news and opinion articles as a service to our readers. Often these articles come from sources outside of our organization. Where possible, the source is documented within each article as well as a link to the article’s source. For more information about The Linesch Firm, please visit our website: www.LineschFirm.com. If you have questions about employment matters and would like to consult a Board Certified Labor Attorney, please contact our Firm.