Women cite race as motive behind firings from hospice

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 21, 2013, 11:59am

HOUSTON - Two Harris County women have filed suit against a hospice, alleging their employment was terminated due to their race. 

Roylett R. Turner and Pamela Williams filed suit against Compassionate Care Hospice of The Woodlands LLC and Compassionate Care Hospice Group Ltd. on Jan. 17 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

The plaintiffs allege they experienced mistreatment while they were employed by the defendants because of their African American heritage.

Turner was hired as a marketer for the Huntsville, Conroe and surrounding areas in August 2010 and Williams came aboard as a medical social worker in January 2009.

In her segment of the case, Turner explains that her supervisor, a white male, relieved her of her duties in her target area on the belief a black marketer should not be working in and around Huntsville despite her success there. The supervisor also allegedly told Turner "the drive is too far from [her] home," but then gave her duties to a white employee who lived in the same area as Turner.

The original petition also mentions how the same supervisor made Turner a chaplain in an effort to dock her pay, a move the plaintiff insists was "discriminatory" in nature.

Turner states that as a chaplain she was made to perform a "spiritual cleansing" at the defendants' offices which made her uncomfortable.

She also states that the director would make derogatory remarks in conversations, but would then stress that he was not a racist.

Turner states that she filed a complaint, but it resulted in her dismissal in January 2011.

Meanwhile, Williams alleges that the same supervisor wanted to reassign her and two other black employees "because he did not think that the white families in The Woodlands/Conroe area would feel comfortable with them."

The suit says the defendants' human resources department called her education into question. Williams stated that she also got into a debate about certain things said about a previous patient and a family member.

She was directly accused of "insubordination and malicious gossiping," the suit states. Williams was then terminated.

Both women believe their respective firings were revenge tactics.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Ashok Bail of Houston is representing the complainants.

Case No. 4:13-CV-137

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