Discrimination lawsuit filed against medical care facility - WNEM TV 5

Discrimination lawsuit filed against medical care facility

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The Shiawassee County Medical Care facility -- photo courtesy of the Shiawassee County Medical Care website. The Shiawassee County Medical Care facility -- photo courtesy of the Shiawassee County Medical Care website.

A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility.

Court documents obtained by TV5 show the complaint is filed on behalf of four employees.

The lawsuit alleges some employees were told not to care for an elderly patient because they are black.

TV5 interviewed one of those employees, Sandrea Butler, last week. You can watch our uncut interview with her in the video player above.

Attorney Julie Gafkay filed the lawsuit against the medical care facility. She is the same attorney who won a settlement in a racial discrimination case against Hurley Hospital.

Last week, TV5 was notified of a situation at the facility where some employees had been disciplined after complaining of an unfair workload.

That employee, Butler, told TV5 that on 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.

Butler 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.

Butler 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.

TV5 reached out to the Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility for comment last week. 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.

Stay with WNEM.com and TV5 as we investigate this story further.

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