Posted in: Business

Nurse Sues Hospital Over ‘No African American Nurse’ Request Fulfilled

Tonya Battle is suing her hospital after being reassigned to a new patient for being African American.

An African American nurse is suing her hospital after claiming it complied to a new father’s request for “no African American nurses.”

The lawsuit, filed in Flint, Michigan states that Tonya Battle, a hospital employee for 25 years, was reassigned to another patient based on the color of her skin.

The father become upset when he saw Tonya Battle handling his newborn son in the neonatal intensive care unit, and approached the nurse to ask for her supervisor. CNN then reports that the patient showed Battle’s supervisor a swastika tattoo and informed her he did not want an African American nurse caring for his child.

After making its way through management, the unnamed father’s request was granted.

Tonya Battle was informed she was being reassigned by phone, along with an explanation of why. According to WNEM in Michigan, Battle explained to the court:

“[She] was shocked, offended and in disbelief that she was so egregiously discriminated against based on her race and re-assigned.”

When WNEM reached out to Hurley Medical Center about granting the racist request, the hospital responded:

“Hurley Medical Center does not comment on past or current litigation.”

The hospital’s lawyer saw a note placed in the father’s file stating specific instructions for, “no African American nurses… per dad’s request.” He objected to the decision, and it was promptly rescinded.

Regardless, the lawsuit alleges that no African American nurses were assigned to care for the dad’s child for over a month.

Another equal rights case was in the public eye recently when an Ohio mayor tried to get a police officer fired for being gay. In more positive news, Kobe Bryant recently scolded a fan for using a gay slur.

What do yo think? Was the Hurley Medical Center completely out of line for reassigning an African American nurse after a dad’s request?

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Comments

95 Responses to “Nurse Sues Hospital Over ‘No African American Nurse’ Request Fulfilled”

  1. Chad LeDoux

    It's his right to decide who handles his child. But if the baby was flat lined wonder if he would allow her to help if she was only one around.

  2. Tara Beard Duval

    He sounds like a jackass, and while he has a right to his beliefs, his family should have done an at-home birth if this was a requirement. You don't get to choose how businesses run and who serves you at a given business in this type of situation (in general, non-contract business relationships such as a patient has with a hospital). That is determined by their business processes & values. Obviously, this business is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

  3. Ginnette Powell

    I agree with Tara that he should have done a home birth if he felt that way about it… sheesh…

  4. Joe Mosley

    When I'm in the hospital, I only have one request.Is the nurse competent? I've had excellent nurses of all Races, both sexes, and sexual orientation.This guy is an idiot.

  5. Daron Calhoun

    She should go to EEOC and also file a charge of employment discrimination!

  6. Daron Calhoun

    She should go to EEOC and also file a charge of employment discrimination!

  7. Barbara Ingersoll Petriches

    What an idiot! He should only be concerned with his baby getting good care & being healthy, not what color the skin is of the nurses that care for the baby.

  8. Barbara Ingersoll Petriches

    What an idiot! He should only be concerned with his baby getting good care & being healthy, not what color the skin is of the nurses that care for the baby.

  9. Michael Barr Jr.

    Sadly as much as I object this man' beliefs… it is his right. And as long as it is within reason… the hospital should comply. I don't think the nurse should take this sitting down…however I doubt there is much legal she can do against the hospital. Either way… someone should take a brick to the pops.

  10. Michael Barr Jr.

    Sadly as much as I object this man' beliefs… it is his right. And as long as it is within reason… the hospital should comply. I don't think the nurse should take this sitting down…however I doubt there is much legal she can do against the hospital. Either way… someone should take a brick to the pops.

  11. Char Goolsby

    It is not his right. He came to a public instiution where they comply with federal laws. He should have stayed home and had a private birth. He then could have hired an all white birthing team. The hospital has just stepped in it. The broke federal law.

  12. Char Goolsby

    It is not his right. He came to a public instiution where they comply with federal laws. He should have stayed home and had a private birth. He then could have hired an all white birthing team. The hospital has just stepped in it. The broke federal law.

  13. Linda Willis

    If he didn't want any African American people caring for his new baby then what in the Hell was he doing in Flint?

  14. Daron Calhoun

    There is a lot she can do, EEOC is one! It is against the law for an employer to make a decision, regardless of customer preference, based on race (cf Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended)

  15. Dawn Pratt

    Maybe they should have had baby somewhere else. Isnt this a African american hospital? Racist people have issues!

  16. Daron Calhoun

    That's called a BFOQ (bona fide occupational qualification) and in limited circumstances, the law allows for it. However, NEVER for race!

  17. Daron Calhoun

    It's not his right! It violates the law and therefore cannot be his right!

  18. Kelly Victoria Wittenberg

    It's certainly his right to request whatever he wants, people make unreasonably stupid requests all of the time. The problem is with the hospital granting his request.

  19. Tanesha S Trippett

    Gender is totally different in this situation. I can see how a woman would want a male nurse that's mental. A dad with swastika tattoo is totally different. I think that sister has a case. I wouldn't wanna be bothered with someone like him anyway

  20. Jennifer Mulder

    That is true! Most elderly women request female caregivers and the hospital honors that. Facilities are not allowed to discriminate against race or sex; why is sex okay and not race if that is his wishes? js

  21. Daron Calhoun

    There is such a law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

  22. Eric Ronda Johnson Burnette

    I really can't see the difference as my sons were born male like she was black. This happens all the time, the guy could of just said he wanted another nurse and not gave the reason. Obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  23. Jerry Manning

    It is his right! You people fail to realize you're doing the same thing saying he cannot make his constitutional right to make a request

  24. Bev J. Fiedler

    Years ago, African American women were always the ones who delivered babies as mid-wifes. Doctors rarely delivered them. Wha in the heck is wrong with people nowaday. If Tonya has been there for 25 years, she has proven she is a very capable nurse. And the hospital, what is their problem. As long as the baby was taken care of in a proper manner, what difference does it make in the color of a nurse or doctor. Father should be ashame of himself, hospital fined for racism and nurse given a medal for putting up with this type of crap. This is 2013, not back in the old days, we've come a long way, baby… Let's all COEXIST………..

  25. Ianntha Doingitthisway Roseberry

    What an idiot. He should have hired a Mid-wife and let his wife give birth at home, issue solved.

  26. Brittany Sharpley

    It is not your right in a public health building. He is a tool and I agree with what you are mostly saying but he and the hospital do not have the right to bar employment based on skin color, race or ethnicity.

  27. Brittany Sharpley

    It is not your right in a public health building. He is a tool and I agree with what you are mostly saying but he and the hospital do not have the right to bar employment based on skin color, race or ethnicity.

  28. Jerry Manning

    90% of you are black so of course you will call it racism, African Americans have used the race card too long out generation had nothing to do with slavery! Keep living in the past and you will never evolve

  29. Gloria Tinsley Mason

    And this guy is allowed to reproduce, he is a bad person with bad ideas. He will raise his family with the same bad ideas. maybe the hospital did the nurse a favor to protect her from his idiot.

  30. Marcus Armstrong

    F-that racist jackhole his ass should stayed home in his double-wide and had his kid there these racist fuckers been out they minds since 2008 ever since O'Bama got office.

  31. Ivonne Key

    If you read the article you will see that the baby is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit not the regular nursery. For those that say that they should have stayed at home to give birth, that was not an option here. I am an RN who has worked both types of nurseries and see nothing wrong with a parent making a nurse request. It happens! His reason for the request is certainly not the smartest and he definitely is a racist. Have you even considered the fact that the hospital decision had to do with the nurses protection and not necessarily just honoring the dad's request. No one knows what he would have done if his request was not honored at that moment. I have worked at several hospitals and they are all about the care and safety of their patients and the safety of the staff. The departments involving babies and children are extra careful with safety and security.

  32. Jeff L Jordan

    It is his right to rquest what he feels is the safest scenerio. If he feels that an AA woman would constitute a harm to this child, then the request is valid.

  33. Jessica Hughey

    It is his right to feel the way he feels. It is also his right to go elsewhere if a PUBLIC institution's hiring practices don't coincide with his racist views. It is NOT, however, his right avail himself of public services and then tell them who should perform those services. He can hire (and pay out-of-pocket) a private duty WHITE nurse to care for his child at home. Problem solved. He's an idiot.

  34. Ianntha Doingitthisway Roseberry

    As long as she was doing her job and the baby was being properly cared for to hell with his request. The hospital should have escorted him outside.

  35. Marcus Armstrong

    Sorry not blacks cry racism but you got jackasses still want to keep it like the good old days

  36. Eric Ronda Johnson Burnette

    I agree but they weren't changing or barring employment but honoring a request for a specific nurse or doc to take care of them. We all pick who takes care of us. He was just honest for why he wanted someone else and as wrong as it is I believe we pay for a service so we have the right to choose who we want to render it. Don't u have a doctor u picked out to go see for whatever reasons?

  37. Marcus Armstrong

    @ Chad LeDoux If the baby died that would one less racist growing up

  38. James Waltz

    Not illegal. Refusal of treatment based on guardians instructions. Nurse not denied employment nor opportunities. Just bad parents

  39. Jessica Hughey

    There is NO "constitutional right to make a request", that is just silly. In addition, it is against federal law for the hospital to comply with that request and that is exactly what the hospital should have told him. He has a right to his feelings but not to ask the hospital to violate a federal law based on his feelings. He can hire and pay out-of-pocket for a private duty WHITE nurse to care for his child at home. He cannot avail himself of public services and then try to dictate who provides those services.

  40. Eric Ronda Johnson Burnette

    I believe the hospital honored this guys request to protect the nurse and staff too. Think about it a guy with this mentality…he could've went off and wasted everyone. If you work in the field you know this happens all the time as we all choose who renders our care for whatever reasoning!

  41. Karen Collins

    I worked at a dental office. A customer came in and said she did not want any "N" dentist working on her mouth. The city I worked in was known for upholding racist attitudes back in 1980 so she felt comfortable making that request in such a way.. She was put her in a dentist chair who's skin was white, his biological parents were black. HELL I thought he was white until that day, when I was told DR…. is Black. She left praising his work and never found out he was black. We all had a good laugh. Sometimes you just let the person be who they are and don't take it personal. Keeps the blood pressure low and life easy. If it did not affect me in any negative way, then so be it. His problem not mine.

  42. Eric Ronda Johnson Burnette

    He is paying for a service and he can request and its usually honored. He should of gave a different reason and they would be no issue! Nearly my entire family works in this field and it happens everyday as my sons are not assigned too people at their request for whatever reasoning.

  43. Mia Lee Sanders

    I agree with you Ivonne, and I am a black parent. His request was based off complete ignorance, but it is his child and he has a right to say who cares for it. I've requested to have specific healthcare professionals care for my children, based on personal preference. His preference just so happens to be that he's racist. Stupid? Yes. Wrong? Maybe. Illegal? Umm, not really.

  44. Tanesha S Trippett

    2 totally different scenario's…..tamarind tomato….just like a woman cop searches women and men cops search men….not predjudice.

  45. Mia Lee Sanders

    Actually, if you READ the posts, most of the comments in support of the father having a choice are coming from both black and white people. It took me awhile to find a racist comment. I was pleasantly surprised at the intelligent conversation until of course, I read your tirade. I have a few suggestions for you:

    1. Please stop making up statistics (your 90% was totally pulled out of the air).
    2. Know the content. I didn't read on post that "pulled the race card." This is quite the opposite.
    3. I think you meant "progress" instead of "evolve." What on earth would we evolve to?
    4. You should have a period where your comma is and a period at the end of your sentence.

  46. Tanesha S Trippett

    I think that's different. This says a man showed her supervisor a swastika tattoo. So, everything changes he should have been told that was not possible. What if there were no other nurses available to care for the baby. Is the baby not to be cared for? Then the hospital would have been liable. The hospital should have told him ahead of time to do it privately.

  47. BeLinda Marie Potts-Ryan

    Then he shouldve birthed his child someplace besides Flint…..

  48. Patricia Ann Hendricks

    I think the hospital actually did this nurse a favor, the father was obviously an ahole and maybe would become violent if his request wasn't met. He was wearing a swastica. If someone didn't want a white nurse and the hospital had me care for that pt, I wouldn't be very happy. Nursing is a tough job especially when you have nasty patients.

  49. Patricia Ann Hendricks

    I think the hospital actually did this nurse a favor, the father was obviously an ahole and maybe would become violent if his request wasn't met. He was wearing a swastica. If someone didn't want a white nurse and the hospital had me care for that pt, I wouldn't be very happy. Nursing is a tough job especially when you have nasty patients.

  50. Stan TheMan

    Does the father pay for all services? The attendants must be qualified to provide the needed services. The father has no right to run the hospital's staff loads.

  51. Drew Massengale

    The man used a well-known symbol of hate and fear to make his "request." How is this any different from a thinly-veiled, half-assed attempt at terrorism?

  52. Drew Massengale

    The man used a well-known symbol of bate and fear to back up his "request." How is this situation anything other than a thinly-veiled, half-assed attempt at terrorism?

  53. Maria Daniels

    after reading the article, i agree, the nurse was done a favor. the 'father' had a swastika tattoo, a note in his file that he wined about….let those of his 'kind' deal with him. he didn't stand behind his own convictions. he is simply a coward…..but i think the nurse should sue the father, not the hospital.

  54. Kevin Pike

    This narrow minded father should have been sterilized and child removed from his care for breeding such hate and stupidity. People like this should not be allowed to reproduce.

  55. LaDeidra Scott

    Where do you work….in what hospital…what city…..what state….what nation???? No where in my studies as a nursing student and nowhere in my career have I learned that patients have the right to ask for a nurse based on the way they look. What about the indian families, or the native anerican families or families of a race that's not represented as wellin healthcare? What if every patient requested a nurse who looked like them no one would be taken care of. As nurses, we are taught extensively to not discriminate and to treat everyone equal. It's drilled in us in school and we do competencies and learning every year to ensure we know what it means to treat every patient fairly. It is very important that disrimination in healthcare ia handled with the most urgency and strict guidelines to eliminate it. IT IS NOT HIS RIGHT TO CHOOSE A NURSE BY RACE. Any person who thinks he can and especially any nurse shoukd reevaluate his/her thought processes and morals. That man should have been asked if he would like to go to another facility with a different care to cause the hospital will not discriminate for any reasons. THAT was the answer to his ludicris request!!

  56. Maureen Ramirez

    This is an outrage! How sad that in this day and age, we still see AND HONOR this kind of ignorance! Absolutely, the hospital should have asked him to go elsewhere. To add insult to injury, that nurse has been a loyal employee for 25 years?!

  57. LaDeidra Scott

    It was definitely an option for him to stay home. If you are racist, and request nurses based on race, you can stay home and have your baby. That is what you risk when you are ignorant in a colorful world. NICU or not. He didn't think about his baby's condition when he was requesting special nurses so it was very well an option for him to have his baby at home. Race was more important to him than the health of his baby. That's a decision he made.

  58. LaDeidra Scott

    Mia Lee Sanders You can't just say "I want this nurse or that nurse" anywhere in this country. A nurse has to do something wrong or demonstrated incompetence to the family at some point. If a hospital allowed someone to point out the nurses they wanted, then they were wrong just like this hospital. Healthcare is different from "I want this person to do my hair, or to be my lawyer". It's public. You don't get to choose your nurse based on personal preference. We make the assignment. All nurses are competent. If the nurse upsets you or does something inappropriate then we fix that assignment. Something is seriously wrong here. I never realized people were hand picking nurses for any reason. This is something that I should bring up with the American Nurses Association.

  59. LaDeidra Scott

    Ianntha Doingitthisway Roseberry Definitely. They should have given him the option to choose another facility that would have allowed him to be racist. That's what I've seen done but obviously it's not happening across the board. Something is wrong here and in AMERICA. But we all know it happens. For the majority to say it's ok, as a nurse, I'm floored.

  60. Danielle Turney

    I am not backing this guy up in anyway, shape or form, but maybe he was ashamed of his tattoo and thought she may be offended. It is just a thought so please no jumping down my throat.

  61. Jarred Nisenfeld

    thats a tough situation to be in, personally if I was the hospital I would have told the father sorry but that is a request that we just cant accomodate because of staffing issues, however the issue with having a woman wanting a male nurse and vice cersa is more because most people do not want strangers seeing them naked, etc. I do not see the reason though that the nurse is suing the hospital though.

  62. Ivonne Key

    LaDeidra Scott The NICU tries to assign nurses to the same babies so that they get consistent care. While we all supposedly have the skills, it is always best for the neonates when they have the same nurses taking care of them on a regular basis. Because of this, parents do make requests for specific nurses for their baby's care. Parents become very familiar with the staff in the RNICU because their babies are there for long period of time…sometimes months.