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Lawsuit: Race-based request sidelined Michigan nurse


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#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.

#31 MadHatter

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:34 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."


Please explain why you think she deserves a big payday from this?



#32 Happy Panther

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

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


The question is whether facilitating racism is a crime in this case.

#33 TheRed

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

Please explain why you think she deserves a big payday from this?


That's up to the courts to decide.

People sue and occasionally win for far more unjust and frivolous matters on a daily basis.

The question is whether facilitating racism is a crime in this case.


Since when is discrimination in the workplace based upon ones race not against the law?

#34 Happy Panther

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

Since when is discrimination in the workplace based upon ones race not against the law?


It probably is. But the quote was "facilitating racism."

There has to be intent and damages and other stuff as we have discussed.

Just being racist isn't usually a crime in this country.

#35 PhillyB

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:39 PM

smoots hit the nail on the head. extenuating circumstances aside, the hospital refused to let her do a job she was qualified to do based on race (and thus kowtowing to a complete fuging asshole.) i'm not going to say the administrators realized this is precisely what they were doing (they probably saw it as simply diffusing an ugly situation with the most immediately easy solution) but that doesn't excuse what it was.

#36 TheRed

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

It probably is. But the quote was "facilitating racism."

There has to be intent and damages and other stuff as we have discussed.

Just being racist isn't usually a crime in this country.


Refer to the note on the medical chart stating no care from blacks allowed. That isn't intent or enabling of racism?

The father didn't write that, and he didn't physically force anyone in the hospital to participate in that.

You can bet some people are going to lose their jobs over this. No company will tolerate that poo because they don't want lawsuits, the discrimination kind especially.