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Michigan nurse files racial discrimination lawsuit

A Grand Rapids nursing supervisor has filed a lawsuit against Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital because she claims the hospital agreed to a family's wish not to have black employees care for their family member. The nurse filed her workplace discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Nov. 27.

The nurse has been an employee of the hospital since 2000. Her suit alleges that there was a leadership meeting in October of 2011 about a male patient whose family didn't want any black members of the staff caring for him. The nurse, who is of African-American descent, said she voiced objections to the idea, but was told by the nursing director that the hospital would honor the family's request.

The suit also alleges that even though the nurse has a master's degree in her field, she wasn't allowed to care for the man even if a beeper went off in his room or his call light was on. She was also required to tell other African-American employees that they weren't permitted to enter the patient's room. She further claims that she wasn't given promotions she was qualified for due to her complaints about the situation. The nurse's lawsuit is seeking damages for lost wages due to those missed promotions as well as for emotional distress and injury to her professional reputation.

There are very clear laws regarding discrimination in the workplace, and individuals who feel they are being unfairly treated may wish to allow an attorney to review their work situation. It may be possible to correct the situation prior to litigation through a settlement or mediation with the employer.

Source: MLive, "Mary Free Bed accused of racial discrimination in lawsuit filed by nursing supervisor", Sue Thorns, December 03, 2013

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