One hospital in Michigan was in hot water over its alleged mistreatment of a Black nurse. Beaumont Health was facing a federal lawsuit after officials allegedly sided with a patient’s racist refusal of care because the nurse was an African-American.
The incident at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn came as so many other people of color were suing their workplaces to fight racial discrimination and repeated incidents of harassment while on the job.
Teoka Williams, who has worked as a Registered Nurse at Beaumont hospital in Dearborn for several years, wasn’t standing for any form of disrespect. The unidentified patient referred to Williams as a “Black b***h” last October and wouldn’t accept medical help from her, she said, according to the complaint. After a clinical manager was made aware of the issue, the person told the patient that Williams would be “moved.” In other words, the manager sent the message that it was okay to honor patient requests based on race.
The clinical manager’s next action was even more demeaning for Williams.
The nurse was then told that she couldn’t even go into the patient’s hospital room, the suit said. Williams was informed that another nurse named Olivia, who is white, would go in the room if the patient or another person needed medical attention. The clinical manager’s alleged statements added insult to injury for Williams.
There were several occasions in which the African-American nurse couldn’t go in the room to help the patient. The nurse received no support to reverse the decision from the human resources department, which said all patient requests would be honored.
The experience was left Williams feeling “harassed, humiliated and discriminated against,” the suit said.
Beaumont has violated the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the suit alleged. Williams was seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as coverage for her court costs and attorney fees, in the case.