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Sterling Employment Law

Rehabilitation facility facing charges of race discrimination

A Michigan rehabilitation facility responded to a lawsuit filed by a former employee by denying claims made against its director of nursing operations. In the legal action, a nursing supervisor formerly employed by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital alleged that the director practiced race discrimination when she told the supervisor that she would not be allowed to provide any care for a white patient. According to the report, the patient's family had made the request that there be no black caregivers for him. The former nursing supervisor is African-American.

Mary Free Bed officials responded that the institution had no knowledge regarding whether the director of nursing did or did not take the allegedly discriminatory action described in the lawsuit. The hospital, they said, lacked information or knowledge sufficient to judge whether or not the ex-employee's allegations regarding the white patient and his family were true. However, they did say that her other allegations -- that she was subsequently denied chances for promotion because of both her race and her earlier complaints regarding racial discrimination -- were untrue.

The supervisor's lawyer filed another race discrimination lawsuit, this one on behalf of an African-American nurse at Mary Free Bed, which concerned the same white male patient and his family's alleged request. That lawyer also filed suit for the Spectrum Health workers who claimed they lost pay and were reassigned after being told black employees would no longer be allowed to care for a white patient.

Workplace discrimination can take many forms. In this case, race discrimination was alleged, but unfair situations from disability to religious discrimination may be addressed in a court of law. An attorney may be able to help protect the client's rights in cases of wrongful termination.

Source: M Live, "Mary Free Bed denies race discrimination charges made by nursing supervisor", Sue Thoms, January 10, 2014

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