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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-20-10

Filipina Nurses File Class Action Suit in CA

The California Nurses Association (CNA) is bringing a class-action lawsuit against California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), and Sutter Health, CPMC's overseeing company, for intentionally engaging in hiring discrimination against Filipina nurses. Three medical center employees submitted statements to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission claiming that between 2007 and 2009, they were instructed not to hire Filipino nurses at CPMC's St. Luke's campus, stated the LA Times . According to the San Francisco Chronicle , the registered nurses union at the hospital reported that the percentage of Filipino nurses hired at the facility dropped from at least 48 percent to 10 percent between 2007 and 2008.

In response to CNA's suit, Dr. Warren Browner, CEO of CPMC, told the LA Times, "we pride ourselves on our diverse hiring policies and our longstanding commitment to promoting equal opportunity employment." He also called the lawsuit "dishonest and without merit." The hospital does not keep a record of how many Filipino nurses there are, but Browner claims that the percentage of Asian nurses at CPMC rose slightly from 63 percent in 2007 to 66 percent in 2010.

According to a
press release, more than two dozen Filipinos and community leaders wrote a letter to CPMC requesting a meeting with Warren Browner and Sutter West Bay Vice President of Nursing, Diana Karner. The coalition also wants the hospital to publicly acknowledge the alleged discriminatory acts and promise to remain dedicated to equal opportunity.

"Rather than respond to the concerns of the community, CPMC and Sutter have chosen instead to retaliate by carrying out a punitive, illegal, and immoral campaign of discrimination," said CNA's co-president, Nurse Zenei Cortez in the press release. "There can be no excuse for racial or ethnic discrimination. A hospital should be a center of therapeutic healing for patients, not a model of bigotry." The nurses' union at the hospital has been involved in a contract dispute with Sutter Health for three years.

Media Resources: LA Times 8/19/10; San Francisco Chronicle 8/20/10; California Nurses Association Press Release 8/19/10


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