Nurse sues Brazosport hospital for discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 28, 2011, 8:24am

GALVESTON - Brazoria County resident Angela Blanks claims race was a factor in her termination from the Community Hospital of Brazosport earlier this year.

According to a lawsuit filed Nov. 22 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Blanks, an African American, received "discriminatory" treatment from the defendant unlike her Caucasian co-workers.

The hospital, doing business as Brazos Regional Health System, employed Blanks as a registered nurse from 2005 to last April.

According to the original petition, Blanks states that she was friendly with a certain white co-worker during a majority of her time at Community Hospital.

Blanks was compelled to report the co-worker for allegedly making inappropriate statements about a staff physician.

Termination was recommended, but the administration rescinded it in favor of placing the individual on a performance improvement plan.

The suit states Blanks and the colleague reportedly got into a verbal confrontation in the hospital cafeteria, allegedly because the colleague was angry over a text message from Blanks.

Later that day, Blanks met with hospital officials to discuss the incident. She claims she told the human resources department that she only touched the other nurse on the arm in an attempt to settle her down. However, the suit states the co-worker bragged she "had a fight" with Blanks.

The plaintiff would return to work only to learn she was under investigation for "assault and battery" and that a decision on the status of her employment with the defendant would be made in a couple of days.

Community Hospital moved to terminate Blanks, but not her co-worker, who supposedly received a lesser form of disciplinary action, the suit says.

Blanks told the hospital officials at a meeting that "it was discriminatory to terminate her, a black female, but not her co-worker, a white female."

She later learned that the co-worker was also fired, but only after the decision not to was met with opposition, the suit states.

Consequently, Blanks seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Blanks is serving as her own counsel.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-519

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