FLINT (WWJ/AP) – An African-American nurse claims a Michigan hospital agreed to a white man’s request that no black nurses would care for his newborn.
Tonya Battle, a 25-year employee at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, said she “didn’t even know how to react” when her supervisors told her not to care for a white baby.
Battle, 49, sued last month in Genesee Circuit Court over an incident that occurred in the medical center’s neonatal intensive care unit on Oct. 31, 2012. According to the lawsuit, Battle was working at an infant’s beside when the child’s father asked to speak to her supervisor.
After speaking to the man, Battle said her supervisor told her that the father, a white man with “a swastika of some kind,” didn’t want African-Americans to care for his child.
According to the eight-page complaint against the medical center, the infant was assigned to a different nurse and Battle was given new duties. Battle said she returned to work the next day to find a note posted on an assignment clipboard that read “No African-American nurse to take care of baby.”
The lawsuit says Battle was “shocked, offended and in disbelief that she was so egregiously discriminated against based on her race and re-assigned.”
Battle said the note was later removed after the hospital’s lawyer objected to the decision, but she claims black nurses weren’t assigned to care for the baby for about a month strictly “because of their race.”
In a brief statement issued Monday, Hurley Medical Center said it “does not comment on past or current litigation.”
Battle, who filed the complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is seeking punitive damages for emotional stress, mental anguish, humiliation and damage to her reputation.
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