Hurley, nurse Tonya Battle settle race discrimination lawsuit - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Hurley, nurse Tonya Battle settle race discrimination lawsuit

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(02/22/13) - Hurley Medical Center and nurse Tonya Battle have settled her lawsuit.  Battle claimed she was barred from taking care of a white baby because she is black.

The agreement was announced during a joint news conference, inside Hurley, Friday evening.

Julie Gafkay, the attorney for the first nurse who sued, attended the news conference along with her client.   She declined to say whether money was part of the settlement adding there were "several factors" involved.

Gafkay says Battle was most concerned about Hurley publicly thanking her and others for bringing the situation to light and also about training that will follow.

The full statement, read at Friday's news conference, by Hurley CEO Melany Gavulic is below:

"We are happy to report, parties have amicably resolved this matter, triggered by conduct that is not consistent with Hurley's policies, we regret that our policies were not well enough understood, causing the perception that Hurley condoned this conduct. We thank Tonya Battle and others for bringing the situation to light. Hurley Medical Center is fundamentally opposed to racial discrimination. As previously reported, we will use the circumstances of this issue to ensure that our employees are prepared to appropriately handle situations like this. Hurley is proud to be the safety net provider for this community for over 105 years. We value the support of patients who trust their care to us. We value the dedication of our physicians and staff and this includes nurse Battle who's had 25 years of dedicated service. We are eager to move forward as a stronger more unified facility."

The conference caps off a big week of developments, including a second lawsuit filed Thursday.  Hurley Spokeswoman Ilene Cantor declined comment on the second lawsuit after the press conference Friday.

The allegations in both of those lawsuits are the same - Hurley honored a father's request that no black nurses care for his baby last October and into November.

Past that, the nurses claim a note - further backing the request - was posted on an assignment clipboard. Only ABC12 has obtained a copy of it.

Tuesday, Gavulic denied the request was honored and said all nurses were available to care for the baby. She did not address the note.

Activists from Al Sharpton's National Action Network were at Hurley watching her make that statement, and also making their own. They called for answers and action, and have planned a demonstration at Hurley on Monday.


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