Nurse fired after complaining about racism at work

Nurse fired after complaining about racism at work
Published: 2013 December 23 11:13:15 (9211 Views)
A 64-year-old mental health nurse has sued a Catholic hospital claiming she was fired after complaining that a co-worker mocked her with a "voodoo doll" because she is Haitian, according to a shocking lawsuit.

Diana St. Gerard worked in the mental health unit at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, and in the nine years she worked there she made numerous complaints about white members of staff discriminating against her and minority patients and their families.

St. Gerard was apparently mocked by colleagues who said her Haitian accent was "irritating," complained that the goat meat and Haitian food she brought to work was too spicy and stunk up the lunchroom, and repeatedly asked her whether she practiced "black magic" or voodoo, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

A nurse told St. Gerard that she looked like a voodoo doll and wondered why she had light-colored skin since she came from a country of "dark-skinned people," the complaint states.

The hospital management took no action, not even after a nurse brought to the mental health unit a black baby doll she had purchased at a flea market and began waving it around, saying the doll "looked just like (St. Gerard) . . . the doll had the "same evil eyes" as her and the only difference was that she didn't have a "needle in the middle of her chest," the complaint states.



"I was told that I looked like a voodoo doll in front of many staff members," St. Gerard told the Daily News. "I was mortified, and I complained about the voodoo doll comments to Mercy's nurse manager, who blew it off as a joke.

"I told the nurse manager that I did not believe it was a joke," she said. "The voodoo doll was brought into the hospital just to humiliate me."

Haitian patients who refused to take their medication were also referred to as "being into voodoo," the suit states.

A spokeswoman said the hospital would have no comment on the lawsuit.

St. Gerard was warned by management that she had "anger issues" and was fired June 7, 2012, for failing to complete tasks — which she denies. St. Gerard planned to retire in 2016, so her pension payout will take a hit as a result of her termination.

"Diana St. Gerard loved being a nurse, and she dedicated her life to helping those in need," her lawyer, Megan Goddard, said.
 
"Sadly, standing up against Mercy's discrimination of both minority patients and minority employees ultimately cost her the career she loved."




Source - NYDN

Tags: racism, voodoo,
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