A nurse's skin color is the subject of a recent lawsuit filed against a Michigan hospital accused of racial discrimination.
According to the suit, Tonya Battle was barred from treating an infant patient at Hurley Medical Center because she is African American, WNEM TV 5 reports.
In the complaint, obtained by the local TV station, Battle claims that the newborn's father showed her supervisor "a swastika of some kind" and asked that no black people be involved in his child's care.
Battle, who was taken off the case, was allegedly later told by a supervisor that the patient's request was granted. The suit also states that a note was appended to the patient's file that read "No African American nurse to take care of baby."
Although attorneys for Hurley Medical later objected to the decision, as UPI notes, the hospital is believed to have honored the patient's request for more than a month.
Though Battle initially filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency tasked with enforcing federal employer discrimination laws, she is seeking compensatory damages for the emotional stress and harm to her reputation through the lawsuit.
The EEOC conducts its own investigation and either files an employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of the individual who made the claim, or dismisses the charge, granting the employee the ability to file his or her own lawsuit. Typically, the commission, which receives 99,000 complaints per year, only takes on select employee discrimination cases.
In 2011, the EEOC filed a class action racial discrimination lawsuit against a Chicago hospital, alleged to have segregated black female employees because of their race. The case was concluded within a few months when Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center agreed to pay a $80,000 settlement.