Teoka Williams, a registered nurse at Beaumont Health in Dearborn, Michigan, filed a lawsuit against the hospital for racial discrimination.
Her employer honored a patient's request who refused to be tended by a "black bitch."
The African American nurse complained to her Clinical Manager about the disgruntled patient during her shift on October 2, 2017.
Williams, who has worked at the hospital for 10 years, said during the shift she had been assigned two patients in a room. One of the patients said she did not want a "black bitch" to treat her.
Michigan nurse Teoka Williams sued Beaumont Health hospital over alleged racial discrimination, saying they reassig… https://t.co/ZIJMxR8xQw— Rima Regas, Blog#42 (@Rima Regas, Blog#42)1534544169.0
According to ABC 7, the lawsuit alleged the hospital manager told the patient she was going to "move" Williams so she would no longer be in her care.
@thehill In 2018? Beyond sad.— Mo Ray (@Mo Ray)1534552825.0
The manager then relayed this information to Williams and instructed her to avoid entering the patient's room, even though the other patient sharing the same room required her assistance.
@MakeItPlain Lord Jesus Mark I want to scream— Cordell Garrett (@Cordell Garrett)1534431013.0
Williams was replaced during her shift by a white nurse named Olivia.
@thehill When you’re so racist you would rather die than deal with other races. 🙄— XYX (@XYX)1534551070.0
After reporting the discrimination to Human Resources, Williams was told "patient requests are honored all the time."
But then Williams was told a repeat of another incident—even though Williams had done nothing wrong except being assigned to a racist patient—could result in Williams' dismissal after 10 years at the hospital.
@thehill @hrcsupervol01 sounds like a refusal of treatment to me. get her to sign the form and send her elsewhere.— campskunk (@campskunk)1534545022.0
And therein lies the issue.
A patient complaint made about Williams race—forcing another nurse to be assigned to the case—was treated by the hospital the same way a legitimate patient complaint would be.
@thehill If this is true then it is disgusting and the hospital should be sued!— Sue (@Sue)1534550898.0
Williams felt "harassed, humiliated and discriminated against" over the incident.
@FOX2News Beyond sickening. Shame on Beaumont for not supporting their staff.— chriStina (@chriStina)1534433137.0
The lawsuit claims the unit had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
@thehill Let the patient suffer until he/she realizes the situation. I have lost my empathy for these people.— Steve Malter (@Steve Malter)1534546490.0
Williams is seeking punitive damages, as well as reimbursement of her attorney and court fees.
@FOX2News Yep down right racism from the patient, probably never realize how good of care he or she passed on. But… https://t.co/PzRMs5xPDZ— LeRoy Richardson (@LeRoy Richardson)1534432677.0
The nurse's attorney, Julie Gafkay, told ABC:
"She was very upset because she is a good nurse. There's no reason she should be excluded from caring for [her other] patient. She was segregated based solely on her race."
The patient was "lucid enough to make a racist comment in saying that she didn't want a black bitch caring for her." Lucid patients that refuse a doctors care are not brought a series of new doctors until they find one they like. They are categorized as refusing medical care.
"She is standing up against racism when work discrimination is in the work place. Her hope is that this doesn't happen to another caregiver."
@thehill what type of person is like hey people that went to school and dedicate a large part of their life to help… https://t.co/k2XTM6cWV9— 🏳️🌈 Anne🏳️🌈 (@🏳️🌈 Anne🏳️🌈)1534544466.0
When ABC reached out to Beaumont hospital, they issued this official statement:
"While we cannot comment on the specifics of this case because it is pending litigation, we can say that Beaumont's highest priority is providing a safe environment that is free from discrimination for both our patients and staff, and delivering care with compassion, dignity and respect."