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Lawsuit: Race-based request sidelined Michigan nurse


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#16 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

She has the right to sue them. I just don't see her winning.

Like I said, if "emotional trauma" from having to deal with jackass customers was grounds for a lawsuit, pretty much every business that offered services to the general public could be sued into oblivion.


That's not even remotely an accurate description of what happened but okay.

And how do you make a case that being assigned to other patients is discrimination?



Probably because the hospital management actually said she was being reassigned due to her skin color, but idk I'm just spitballing here.

Heck, the hospital can argue that assigning her to this guy's wife would have subjected her to abusive treatment from him. Thus, they can actually say they spared her from emotional trauma.

If they presented her with the OPTION of being reassigned, sure. But in this case she was told "Hey you're black so go take care of someone else's kid." Again, I can't stress enough that she WAS TOLD SHE WAS BEING REASSIGNED SOLEY DUE TO HER ETHNICITY. Whether the patient's husband requested it or not doesn't matter. By cooperating the hospital is just as guilty of discrimination. Any lawyer could tell you that, why do you think the hopstial's lawyer flipped poo when he realized what was going on?

In the court of public opinion, yes she has a case. In a court of law, it's not enough.


I'll bump this when you're proven completely and utterly wrong.

#17 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

That's not even remotely an accurate description of what happened but okay.

Probably because the hospital management actually said she was being reassigned due to her skin color, but idk I'm just spitballing here.

If they presented her with the OPTION of being reassigned, sure. But in this case she was told "Hey you're black so go take care of someone else's kid." Again, I can't stress enough that she WAS TOLD SHE WAS BEING REASSIGNED SOLEY DUE TO HER ETHNICITY. Whether the patient's husband requested it or not doesn't matter. By cooperating the hospital is just as guilty of discrimination. Any lawyer could tell you that, why do you think the hopstial's lawyer flipped poo when he realized what was going on?

I'll bump this when you're proven completely and utterly wrong.


Feel free. Just make sure you bump it if I'm right too.

The hospital will say that what happened to her wasn't a matter of policy. It was accommodation of a customer request. A jackass customer, yes, but still a customer and relative to a patient.

The action they took was not because they agreed with him, but in order to avoid the kind of trouble you could rightly expect from a yahoo like this if his wishes weren't met.

This being a hospital, it's not a simple case of telling the guy who's being an ass to a waitress to shove off. It's denial of care to a patient, specifically a mother and baby. No hospital's gonna do that, regardless of how big a prick the dad is being.

It's a sad story, but if she gets anything more than a small out-of-court settlement, I'll be surprised. And I'd say there's no guarantee she'll even get that.

#18 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

What happened to her wasn't a matter of policy. It was accommodation of a customer request. A jackass customer, yes, but still a customer and relative to a patient.

That's wonderful of the hospital, but they still acquiesced to the customer's request that they essentially discriminate against their own employees. If he asked for a big tittied nurse so he could squeeze her tits while she helped care for his wife's baby and management found a busty nurse and told her to let the guy feel her up, are they any less liable? Because sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace will get you sued equally as fast.

The action they took was not because they agreed with him, but in order to avoid the kind of trouble you could rightly expect from a yahoo like this if his wishes weren't met.

This being a hospital, it's not a simple case of telling the guy who's being an ass to a waitress to shove off. It's denial of care to a patient, specifically a mother and baby. No hospital's gonna do that, regardless of how big a prick the dad is being.

It's a sad story, but if she gets anything more than a small out-of-court settlement, I'll be surprised. And I'd say there's no guarantee she'll even get that.


It's not denial of care to tell a retard "this is the nurse we've assigned to you, deal with it." He didn't complain because she smelled like liquor, he complained because of her skin color, which is something she can't do anything about and in no way affects her ability to properly do her job. Hospitals aren't required to reassign a nurse because you're a bigot.

#19 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:25 PM

That's wonderful of the hospital, but they still acquiesced to the customer's request that they essentially discriminate against their own employees. If he asked for a big tittied nurse so he could squeeze her tits while she helped care for his wife's baby and management found a busty nurse and told her to let the guy feel her up, are they any less liable? Because sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace will get you sued equally as fast.

It's not denial of care to tell a retard "this is the nurse we've assigned to you, deal with it." He didn't complain because she smelled like liquor, he complained because of her skin color, which is something she can't do anything about and in no way affects her ability to properly do her job. Hospitals aren't required to reassign a nurse because you're a bigot.


And then the guy causes a load of trouble in an infant care unit and who knows what happens next?

They made a decision to avoid trouble from a guy of questionable character. They didn't agree with it, but they've had to give in to goofy patient and family requests before and will again. The prejudice and discrimination are on the part of the man, not the hospital. That'll be their defense, and it's a good one.

To win, she'll have to show that not being able to work with this specific child only caused her some form of actual harm. Since there's no indication of wages or time lost, she can only claim emotional hurt. How many people can you name that have ever successfully sued an employer based on hurt feelings alone?

It sucks that it happened, but it's not enough to prove malice or intent from the hospital.

Better course of action wouldve been to tell the story to a news organization and let them run with it.

#20 twylyght

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:35 PM

This is the end result of having choices taken from us. The hospital is not really given a choice in dealing with this moron under current regulations. Were we to actually have freedom to invoke our freedoms as laid out by the Constitution, the hospital would have been able to refuse service as they see fit and this guy would have to deal with the consequences of his choices. Not by law, but by community.

In my opinion, this is how the delineation should be. Government should not be the arbiter of morality, but of rights. This guy has a right to be an asshole, and said freedom comes with the responsibility of the choices he makes. Conversely, if the hospital opts to refuse service based on bigotry, they will lose clientele and incur the responsibility of their choice in the form of funds lost.

In short, it is a pretty elegant case of how we've opted out of the freedom option over generations and handed that over to a collective tyranny of regulated morality bludgeons.

#21 logic1977

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

who knew that anyone would use this example as a case study into why we need to eliminate discrimination laws? Jessus fugging christ really?

#22 Floppin

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

Valid, but if I'm running the place, my worry there would be what kind of trouble the guy might cause right there in the unit. You're obviously not dealing with a mental giant here, and given the Nazi tattoos you can expect he's not afraid of raising a ruckus.

Like I said, the situation sucks, but in that setting, there might not have been much other choice.


Hospitals have armed "security" for a reason.

#23 Happy Panther

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

I don't think this is a case at all and would be surprised if there are any damages awarded.

First of all there are no economic damages. The lady was not fired, punished or reprimanded in any way. Secondly I do not think there are any punitive damages either. These are reserved for egregious acts and usually in discrimination cases related to wrongful termination, retaliation or assault. Unless the lawyer can show that there has been a history of racism at the hospital there is no ground for punitive damages. That only leaves the possibility of emotional stress which I'm sure they will argue.

BUT they still have to prove there was discrimination. Under Michigan law:



To establish a prima facie case
through circumstantial evidence, the employee must show that she (1) belonged to a
protected class, (2) was qualified for the
position, (3) suffered some type of adverse
employment action, such as termination or

non-selection, and (4) the position was given
to another person under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.
There are some interesting issues related



The key here is you have to show that the "non-selection" was adverse and you also have to show that dealing with an individual is a position. This is very weak as the lady's position was not affected at all.

But more importantly the employer has an easy defense under MI law


Once the employee has presented evidence that satisfies each element of the
prima facie case, there is a presumption of
discrimination. The burden of production,
but not proof, shifts to the employer. The
employer merely has to ‘‘articulate,’’ with admissible evidence, some legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its adverse employment action. A legitimate nondiscriminatory
reason cannot be motivated by the illegal reason alleged by the employee, but it does not
have to be a good or moral reason.


I don't think it would even get that far since the action was not adverse but all the employer has to do is show that the decision was made for other reasons such as avoiding conflict or the lady's safety.

The other issue in cases like this is you have to establish intent. If the lady was removed from helping this baby because the supervisor was trying to make the workplace a terrible place to work so that the black lady would leave then there is a case. Unless there is much more to the story that we don't know, it does not appear anyone had nefarious motives.

So I would bet $$ this case goes nowhere

#24 Mr. Scot

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

Hospitals have armed "security" for a reason.


Do you know for sure that this hospital has "armed" guards?

Granted, lots of places do, but the default action is still trying to avoid having any sort of "scene" in the first place if at all possible.

Throw in that if they toss him he sues for not being allowed to be with his wife and baby.

People just about always go "path of least resistance" in this situation,

#25 Mr. Scot

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

I don't think this is a case at all and would be surprised if there are any damages awarded.

First of all there are no economic damages. The lady was not fired, punished or reprimanded in any way. Secondly I do not think there are any punitive damages either. These are reserved for egregious acts and usually in discrimination cases related to wrongful termination, retaliation or assault. Unless the lawyer can show that there has been a history of racism at the hospital there is no ground for punitive damages. That only leaves the possibility of emotional stress which I'm sure they will argue.

BUT they still have to prove there was discrimination. Under Michigan law:

The key here is you have to show that the "non-selection" was adverse and you also have to show that dealing with an individual is a position. This is very weak as the lady's position was not affected at all.

But more importantly the employer has an easy defense under MI law

I don't think it would even get that far since the action was not adverse but all the employer has to do is show that the decision was made for other reasons such as avoiding conflict or the lady's safety.

The other issue in cases like this is you have to establish intent. If the lady was removed from helping this baby because the supervisor was trying to make the workplace a terrible place to work so that the black lady would leave then there is a case. Unless there is much more to the story that we don't know, it does not appear anyone had nefarious motives.

So I would bet $$ this case goes nowhere


More in-depth, but that's how I see it too.

#26 MadHatter

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:12 PM

I don't think this is a case at all and would be surprised if there are any damages awarded.

First of all there are no economic damages. The lady was not fired, punished or reprimanded in any way. Secondly I do not think there are any punitive damages either. These are reserved for egregious acts and usually in discrimination cases related to wrongful termination, retaliation or assault. Unless the lawyer can show that there has been a history of racism at the hospital there is no ground for punitive damages. That only leaves the possibility of emotional stress which I'm sure they will argue.

BUT they still have to prove there was discrimination. Under Michigan law:






The key here is you have to show that the "non-selection" was adverse and you also have to show that dealing with an individual is a position. This is very weak as the lady's position was not affected at all.

But more importantly the employer has an easy defense under MI law




I don't think it would even get that far since the action was not adverse but all the employer has to do is show that the decision was made for other reasons such as avoiding conflict or the lady's safety.

The other issue in cases like this is you have to establish intent. If the lady was removed from helping this baby because the supervisor was trying to make the workplace a terrible place to work so that the black lady would leave then there is a case. Unless there is much more to the story that we don't know, it does not appear anyone had nefarious motives.

So I would bet $$ this case goes nowhere


Excellent analysis fo the situation......kudos to you fine sir.

#27 TheRed

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

I wish I could say I was surprised by these responses, lol the huddle.

"Oh it's just some everyday racism, that black woman doesn't deserve any money. Tell her to go home."

#28 Mr. Scot

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:36 PM

I wish I could say I was surprised by these responses, lol the huddle.

"Oh it's just some everyday racism, that black woman doesn't deserve any money. Tell her to go home."


Not really.

Racism on the part of the Nazi guy? Yeah, he's an idiot.

Racism on the part of the hospital? No. Just an attempt to avoid a bad situation while dealing with an idiot.

Lousy situation, but not grounds for damages from the hospital. See HPs analysis above. Can you craft a good legal argument within that framework? Wouldn't bet on it.

Sad truth: What's right and what's legal aren't always the same.

#29 TheRed

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Not really.

Racism on the part of the Nazi guy? Yeah, he's an idiot.

Racism on the part of the hospital? No. Just an attempt to avoid a bad situation while dealing with an idiot.

Lousy situation, but not grounds for damages from the hospital (see HPs analysis above)

Sad truth: What's right and what's legal aren't always the same.


So are you saying the hospital did not actively facilitate the racism in question?

The only thing worse than this guys blatant ignorance is normalizing it and shrugging it off like it is no big deal.

#30 Mr. Scot

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

So are you saying the hospital did not actively facilitate the racism in question?

The only thing worse than this guys blatant ignorance is normalizing it and shrugging it off like it is no big deal.


No. What they did is try to avoid making an already bad situation worse.

You're already dealing with an off-kilter individual. Who's to say if you tell him the nurse is still gonna work with his kid that he doesn't wait in the parking lot and assault her (or worse)?

Hospitals quite often have to deal with people who are not all there. Sometimes that means doing things they might not want to in order to keep things from escalating. What happened in this story is exactly that kind of situation.

Again, take a look at HPs post above and tell me if you can make a legal justification for damages.

Whether or not you agree with the result, the hospital was trying to do the right thing in a lousy situation. Having to accommodate a nimrod like this guy sucks, but anybody who works with the public can tell you it happens, and sometimes there's not a thing you can do about it.

It's a crappy story, but tons of crappy stories happen every day. Not all of them are grounds for lawsuits. This is one of them that just isn't.

And sad to say, as far as the one guy in this who does actually deserve to pay some kind of penalty, there's no standing there either. You can't sue somebody for being an ass.


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