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Woman says Memorial Hospital made her work with colleague who used racial slur

Former employee sues Memorial Hospital

A former Memorial Hospital employee says the hospital did not follow their own discrimination policy when she reported a white coworker for using a racial slur in 2017.
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A former Memorial Hospital employee says the hospital did not follow their own discrimination policy when she reported a white coworker for using a racial slur in 2017.

A former Memorial Hospital employee says the hospital did not follow their own discrimination policy when she reported a white coworker for using a racial slur in 2017.

Ja’Lisa Turner, who is black, filed a lawsuit Step. 14. It states Turner was employed by Memorial Hospital as a laboratory associate from August 2013 to March 2018.

On June 10, 2017, Turner was working with a medical technologist in the lab when she asked her coworker to pass her some specimens. The lawsuit states the coworker replied to Turner’s request by saying, “What am I, your (racial slur)?”

Turner’s suit states she was emotionally traumatized and could not complete that shift. Because it was a weekend, she reported the behavior to management four days later and was told it would be investigated.

Memorial Hospital officials declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

When Turner met with management again six days after reporting the racial slur, the suit states she was told the investigation was complete and that appropriate action had been taken. Turner says she was not told what that “appropriate action” was.

After that meeting, Turner says she was forced to work with the coworker she’d reported on more than 40 occasions.

Turner’s suit states working with this person created a hostile work environment that interfered with her ability to do her job.

Memorial Hospital has a “No Discrimination, No Harassment” policy that was issued in June 2014, the lawsuit states. The policy says that all forms of discrimination based on race are prohibited. It further provides that the hospital “will not tolerate or condone any action by ... co-workers ... which constitutes illegal harassment or discrimination.”

Memorial Hospital officials told the BND it could not provide a copy of the written policy because of a pending legal matter.

Jay Leskara, Turner’s lawyer, said the hospital didn’t take her report seriously. He said her coworker’s use of a racial slur was “abhorrent and completely unacceptable in a work environment.”

“All Ja’Lisa was asking was that they follow the policy and implement it as its written, but they refused to do that,” Leskara said.

Hana Muslic: 618-239-2626, @h_muslic
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