FLINT (WWJ/AP) – Documents show a Michigan hospital agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of money as part of a settlement following an accusation that it granted a man’s request that no black nurses care for his newborn.
The settlement agreement was released Tuesday by Hurley Medical Center in Flint following a request from The Flint Journal. The suit was filed by nurse Tonya Battle, who alleged a note was posted on an assignment clipboard reading, “No African American nurse to take care of baby.”
According to the settlement, Hurley agreed to pay Battle, as well as two other women who were not named as plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, a monetary amount the sides agreed upon during a meeting on Feb. 21. The dollar amount was not disclosed.
According to the lawsuit, 49-year-old 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, a 25-year employee at the medical center, 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.”
Following the release of the settlement agreement, Hurley Medical Center said in a statement they were glad the situation was resolved amicably.
“This situation in the NICU was triggered by conduct which is not consistent with Hurley’s policies. We regret that our policies were not well enough understood and followed causing the perception that Hurley condoned this conduct,” the statement read.
“Hurley Medical Center is fundamentally opposed to any form of racial discrimination. As previously reported, we will use the circumstances of this issue in future training sessions to ensure that employees are prepared to appropriately handle situations like this,” the statement continued.
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