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September 29, 2010

But the Patient Prefers a White Aide?

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: 1:47 pm

Certain patients in a nursing home indicated that they preferred white aides only.  In such circumstances is it OK for the employer to honor those requests and implement such a policy?

No, said the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chaney v. Plainfield. Such customer preferences are no defense to racial discrimination claims, even if they arise in the healthcare environment.

While the law does allow sex discrimination in certain limited situations, such as when gender is a bona fide occupational qualification, no such exception exists for race.  The court also found that allowing such racial preference   “poisoned the work environment” and created “fodder” for co-workers’ racially charged remarks.  As a consequence the court determined a hostile work environment had been created.

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