Lawsuit accuses hospital of scheme to rid facility of African American nurses

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 15, 2011, 3:00am


MARSHALL - An African-American nurse has filed a discrimination lawsuit that accuses Harrison County Hospital of scheming to terminate or eliminate all of its African American practitioners.

Claiming racial and age discrimination, Willie M. Cook filed suit against Harrison County Hospital Association, doing business as Good Shepherd Medical Center, on Oct. 5 in Harrison County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division of Nov. 9.

Cook is a 67-year-old, African American female who worked for Good Shepherd for eight years as a licensed vocational nurse. In her lawsuit, Cook alleges that the facility began a scheme to rid the hospital of its African American practitioners and LVNs by creating and maintaining a hostile work environment.

According to the lawsuit, over a short period of time, all of the black employees were either terminated or forced out by the discriminatory practices.

Cook claims she was also the victim of frequent inappropriate comments, such as being referred to as "too old" and being told that she "needed to retire."

Although her termination was for errors, Cook states a white younger nurse had made the same mistake and the younger nurse was not fired, according to the complaint.

The defendant is accused of violating the Age Discrimination Act, violating Cook's civil rights through racial discrimination and violations of the Texas Labor Code.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of actual damages for lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

Cook is represented by Maurice Owens Jr. and Delwin E. Hervey of Owens Hervey in Dallas.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00474

More News