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US Settles Race Complaint Against Flint Hospital

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FLINT (WWJ/AP) - The federal government says it’s settled a discrimination complaint against a Flint hospital following accusations that black nurses were barred from treating a white newborn.

As part of the settlement, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission will conduct annual training for the management staff of Hurley Medical Center. The EEOC also will work with the hospital on other educational and developmental efforts aimed at Flint-area youth.

Hurley Chief Executive Melany Gavulic said in a statement that she’s pleased to work with the commission and receive its resources.

The hospital agreed to play about $200,000 in March to settle a lawsuit filed by three nurses. A lawsuit filed by another nurse is ongoing.

The incident that sparked the lawsuit occurred in the medical center’s neonatal intensive care unit on Oct. 31, 2012. According to the lawsuit, Tonya 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.”

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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