Kelly Holleran Jan. 7, 2013, 12:58pm

A former healthcare worker has filed suit against her employer, saying it discriminated against her and forced her to quit working after it engaged in numerous acts against her, such as drug testing and requiring her to repay more than $6,000 worth of scholarship money.

Jasmine Dark claims she was working as a registered nurse for defendant, The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, and was also attending Lamar University on a scholarship through the hospital.

Throughout three months in 2011 and 2012, Dark requested permission to be absent from her job obligations on her birthday and two other days, which the hospital did not permit. In order to get the days off, Dark was forced to switch shifts with other staff, according to the complaint filed Dec. 28 in Jefferson County District Court.

Dark also was forced to call off work on Dec. 28, 2011, because she did not feel it was safe to work the overtime hours she was scheduled, the suit states. She also called in sick on Jan. 15, 2012, and could not return to work until Jan. 17, the complaint says. Because of her missed time from work, Dark claims she began to receive an increased amount of scrutiny.

Unsatisfied with the scheduling, Dark applied to a job at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, which is another medical facility in defendant IASIS’s health network. The Medical Center of Southeast Texas is part of the same network. Dark was accepted to the position, but was told her scholarship would not transfer with her to St. Joseph’s, she claims.

Meanwhile, narcotics disappeared from The Medical Center of Southeast Texas. Dark was one of two employees to be drug tested, according to the complaint. Although the tests came back negative, Dark was denied the ability to transfer to St. Joseph’s, the suit states.

At some point, Dark was given a final warning, which she refused to sign because she did not agree with details outlined in the warning, the complaint says.

Since then, The Medical Center of Southeast Texas has demanded that Dark repay the $6,100 scholarship it provided to her, she claims.

The hospital took such actions against Dark because she is a black woman and because she refused to work the overtime hours requested of her, according to the complaint.

“Ms. Dark’s supervisor subjected her to several sorts of employment actions not required of similarly situated personnel who were not African American,” the suit states.

Because of the way she was treated, Dark claims she was forced to terminate her employment with The Medical Center of Southeast Texas.

Dark suffered emotional pain, mental anguish, suffering and inconvenience, plus a loss of enjoyment of her life due to the incidents, the complaint says.

Dark says that the defendants racially discriminated, retaliated and intentionally inflicted emotional distress against her. They also tortuously interfered with her other business, caused her to undergo wrongful termination and breached their contract with her, according to the complaint.

Dark is seeking actual and economic damages, plus a reinstatement to her former position. She is also asking for a rescission of the contract, unliquidated damages, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs, attorney’s fees, expert’s fees, exemplary damages and other relief the court deems just.

Dasean A. Jones of Houston will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D193-766

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