Friday, February 22, 2013

"No African American Nurse to Take Care of Baby" - COTW #131

The Case of the Week is Battle v. Hurley Medical Center (complaint)(HT: Jon Hyman). A nurse filed a lawsuit against the hospital for accommodating the requests of a racist patient.

The African American plaintiff was a nurse, caring for an infant. The infant's father allegedly requested to speak with the nurse's supervisor:
The father told the Charge Nurse that he did not want any African Americans taking care of his baby. While telling the Charge Nurse, he pulled up his sleeve and showed some type of tattoo which was believed to be a swastika of some kind.
Amazingly, instead of telling this guy "tough luck" (or some variation thereof), the hospital allegedly accommodated his request! The Complaint claims the hospital reassigned the baby to another nurse. And, just when you think it can't get any worse, they then allegedly put a sign on the baby's clipboard that read "NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY."

As Jon Hyman pointed out in his post on this case - customer preferences generally do not provide cover for race discrimination in the workplace. If the allegations are true, it could be a tough round of litigation for the hospital.