The Shiawassee County Medical Care facility -- photo courtesy of the Shiawassee County Medical Care website.
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
WNEM TV5 has been notified of a situation at a county medical care facility where some employees have been disciplined after complaining of an unfair workload.
The allegations are being leveled at the Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility, a nursing home in Corunna.
The employee told TV5 that last Friday, July 19, two African-American employees complained that they were given a heavier workload than white employees doing the same jobs. The employee said since then, the two employees have been off work.
That employee told TV5 that when she reported for work on Sunday, she was given part of those two employee's workloads, but that she and an African-American RN were told that they could not work with a specific white male patient. They were told no African-American employees could care for the resident.
The employee stated that the decision not to allow African-American employees to touch the resident came after the resident complained of being bruised by an African-American employee, but later the resident recanted and said it wasn't true.
The decision is disappointing to Julie Gafkay, who's worked on civil rights cases like this before. She was the attorney who handled the case of Tonya Battle, the Hurley nurse who also happened to be black.
"It's outrageous that a medical facility would grant this request, especially on the heels of the battle against hurley medical center case, that there was a public outcry that a patient's request based on race would be granted," said Battle.
Battle was told she couldn't care for a newborn at the request of the baby's white parents. She says Butler's situation is very similar.
"In my legal opinion, a patient can not request somebody to not work with them based on race. This is clearly illegal under federal law, I believe it's illegal under state law as well."
She says her proof can be found in the body of the civil rights act of 1964.
TV5 reached out to the Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility for comment. Facility administrator Rick Cordonnier confirmed the employee's information. Cordonnier said the facility is complying with the patient's wishes in barring African-American employees from caring for him. He told TV5 the facility follows the same policy if a resident does not want care from an employee of the opposite gender.
"We are protecting staff members from potential allegations," said Cordonnier. He said the facility does need to comply with resident's preferences for care. As for the complaints of heavy workloads by the two African-American employees, Cordonnier said that specific case is still being reviewed, but said "the facility treats all employees fairly." Cordonnier said workloads are adapted daily, or even hourly, to meet the residents' needs.
Cordonnier told TV5 he was not familiar with the incident involving the white resident complaining of being bruised by an African-American, but then retracted that statement.
Meanwhile, Butler says she's still not sure what actions she'll take but does want to give her employer a little bit of time to address the situation and rectify it.
Stay with WNEM.com and TV5 as we investigate this story further.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Should patients be allowed to deny care from health practitioners based on race?
Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:
Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:20 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:20:52 GMT
The landscaping season is just getting underway and for a local business, much of the equipment they use to bring home the bacon was found burnt to a crisp on an abandoned Detroit street. "This is ourMore >
Equipment from a local business was found burned to a crisp on an abandoned Detroit street.More >
Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:31 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:31:28 GMT
Three teens are reported to have been killed after leading police on a high speed chase in a stolen vehicle. The accident happened on I-75 in Detroit over the weekend. Several news outlets report a 17-year-oldMore >
Authorities have released the names of three teenagers who were killed when their stolen Jeep went off an embankment and crashed upside down in Detroit.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Monday, April 21 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-04-21 22:28:17 GMT
Mijai Wallace works at Bad Daddy's inside the airport. Last Thursday was a lot like any other day. Nothing seemed unusual about the woman with the ponytail. "I brought her her check she gave her creditMore >
Mijai Wallace works at Bad Daddy's inside the airport. Last Thursday was a lot like any other day. Nothing seemed unusual about the woman with the ponytail.More >
Monday, April 21 2014 2:07 PM EDT2014-04-21 18:07:19 GMT
A local business manager was stunned to see her most recent water bill. Kim Haken runs the Columbus Laundromat in Bay City. She says when she opened the bill, it read that the company owed $18-thousand.WhenMore >
A local business manager was stunned to see her most recent water bill. More >
Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-22 16:27:58 GMT
According to a senior at Cherryville High School, a pair of her red skinny jeans got her kicked out of her Senior Prom and has started a bit of a controversy at the school since. "In a way it's kind ofMore >
According to a senior at Cherryville High School, a pair of her red skinny jeans got her kicked out of her Senior Prom and has started a bit of a controversy at the school since.More >
Monday, April 21 2014 4:31 PM EDT2014-04-21 20:31:54 GMT
Lake Oswego police said a Clackamas dad put his daughter in a headlock while trying to take away her cell phone at a high school softball game Friday. Officers said Brett Miller wanted to take away hisMore >
A Clackamas father is accused of putting his daughter in a headlock while trying to take away her cell phone. More >