Hospital Refused to Allow Black Nurse to Care for Baby, Employee Alleged
DETROIT - Hurley Medical Center in Genesee County, Mich., has agreed to settle a race discrimination charge filed against it with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The agreement follows conciliation between the EEOC and Hurley Medical Center over claims that an African-American nurse was not allowed to care for a white baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in November 2012 because of her race, supposedly due to customer preference. The federal agency also reviewed the hospital's broader policies with respect to assignments. Assignment of employees based on customer racial preferences violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As part of a five-year collaborative agreement, Hurley Medical Center is partnering with EEOC on a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at educating and developing youth from Flint and the surrounding Genesee County community. Hurley and the EEOC will team up on a variety of internal programs at the medical center that are focused on workforce development involving the youth in the community. This will include increasing the number of high school career day sessions offered at Hurley, where EEOC staff will participate as speakers for each session.
In addition, as part of ongoing leadership development and education of the workforce, the EEOC will conduct non-discrimination training for the management staff of the hospital annually. As part of Hurley's commitment to diversity and inclusion, the EEOC will also meet with the Hurley Diversity and Inclusion Council annually to hear the council's accomplishments and to offer advice that will assist in furthering the efforts of the council.
"I am pleased that we are able to engage in this partnership and receive the expert resources of the EEOC in a collaborative fashion," said Melany Gavulic, president and CEO of Hurley Medical Center. "All of these initiatives, in partnership with the EEOC, will continue to move us forward in our unending commitment to provide clinical excellence and service to people."
Gail D. Cober, director of the EEOC's Detroit Field Office, said, "This case exemplifies the EEOC's commitment to stop and remedy employment discrimination. It is important for the public to know that the EEOC is ever vigilant in our efforts to root out discrimination in the workplace. Assignments of caregivers according to their race and based on customer preference is against the law period and will not be tolerated. We commend Hurley Medical Center for their willingness to resolve this matter in a comprehensive way that will have a lasting positive effect in the Flint/Genessee community."
According to company information, Hurley, a 443-bed premier public teaching hospital located in the heart of Genesee County, Mich., is the region's only Level I Trauma Center, Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, Burn Center, and the highest-level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit available in Genesee County.
The EEOC has put an emphasis on educating young people about their rights to work free from discrimination, including developing curriculum guides for classrooms and having a special website where young people can find out more information at www.eeoc.gov/youth.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.