A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: discrimination

Racism in the Baby Ward

By Mike Brancheau

Tonya Battle is an African American registered nurse who has worked for Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan for the past 25 years. Last October, Ms. Battle was caring for a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (“NICU”) when the father approached her station and reached for the child. Ms. Battle informed the man that she was the baby’s nurse and requested to see the man’s identification bracelet. The man abruptly responded that he needed to speak to Ms. Battle’s supervisor.

After speaking with the father, the Charge Nurse of the NICU informed Ms. Battle that the father did not want an African American nurse caring for his baby. In response to the request, a note was attached to the child’s clipboard that said: “Please, No African American Nurses to care for [name omitted] baby per dad’s request. Thank you.”

Some time after that, an attorney for the hospital informed the Nurse Manager that the father’s request could not be honored and that the sign should be removed. But according to Ms. Battle, even though the sign came down, the hospital made sure that no African American nurses were assigned to care for the baby for the next month.

On February 18, The Inquisitr reported that Ms. Battle was suing the hospital for discrimination in violation of the 14th Amendment. In her complaint, Ms. Battle stated that she was “shocked, offended, and in disbelief” that her longtime employer would so egregiously discriminate against her based upon her race.

On February 19, Hurley’s CEO, Melany Gavulic, responding to the story, stated, “the father was informed that his request could not be granted,” and that “all nurses remained available to care for his baby.”

On February 22, The Detroit Free Press reported that Hurley Medical Center had settled the lawsuit with Ms. Battle. It now faces a lawsuit from a second African American nurse, Carlotta Armstrong.

Ms. Battle sued Hurley Medical Center pursuant to Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Ms. Armstrong filed her lawsuit under only the state law.  LASIS will explain why Hurley Medical Center was wise to quickly settle the lawsuit with Ms. Battle and should do the same in the lawsuit with Ms. Armstrong.

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Starbucks Served Venti-Sized Discrimination Lawsuit

 

By Leah Braukman

Twenty-five year old Eli Pierre has only one full arm, but he says he’s never been told there was something he couldn’t do.

That is, until last month, when a San Diego, California Starbucks interviewed and then refused to hire him. Mr. Pierre is now suing the Seattle-based company in California state court alleging discrimination and wrongful failure to hire “despite his capable work history,” in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). He’s also claiming failure to prevent discrimination, to make reasonable accommodations, to engage in the interactive process in violation of FEHA, wrongful failure to hire in violation of public policy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to ABC News, Mr. Pierre, a former bartender, claims he wasn’t hired because he is missing half of his left arm, and that throughout his interview, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to work there – besides being teased about a previous job he’s held at Victoria’s Secret. (“Maybe he can help you find the right bra size”, the interviewer allegedly said to another Starbucks employee.)

A spokesperson for the coffeehouse chain contends that Mr. Pierre’s version of the interview is “vastly different” from what actually took place, and that he wasn’t hired because of his qualifications and answers to interview questions.

While ABC and the rest of the media provided plenty of information about Mr. Pierre’s lawsuit, it didn’t size up the strength of his claims. LASIS will.   (more…)

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Lesbian Wants to Say “I Do” but Bridal Shop Says “We Don’t”

By Ashley Davidson and Dawn Mikulastik

Almost every woman has fantasized about her wedding day from the time she was a little girl – the music, the cake, the bouquet, and most important of all – the dress. This was certainly the case for Alix Genter, who was looking forward to finding the perfect dress when she walked into the New Jersey store Here Comes the Bride.

Ms. Genter’s entourage for the shopping expedition included several close friends and family members. It was a joyous occasion, with the mother of the bride even packing little gift bags with muffins, morning snacks and a bottle of champagne for the outing. Everything was going well, and Ms. Genter found the dress of her dreams. Full of excitement, she filled out the order form, and replaced the word “groom” with “partner,” indicating her wife-to-be. And that’s when things took a turn for the peculiar. The manager of the store called a few days later to inform her that it would not be supplying her dress because she’s gay.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Donna, the store manager, claimed that she refused business with Ms. Genter because she didn’t want to “participate in any illegal actions” — same-sex marriage is illegal in New Jersey. The lesbian couple hasn’t sued yet, but we wondered, what would happen if charges were filed in this case?

Our answer:  The store would probably lose.   (more…)

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