A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Nursing Home That Discriminated Against African-American Nurses

Nursing Home Assigned Nurses Based On Race And Accommodated Discriminatory Preferences Of White Patient

ROME, NY -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the settlement of an investigation by his office against Betsy Ross Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in Rome, NY, for discrimination on the basis of race against African-American employees. Betsy Ross is a private, for-profit, 120-bed nursing home facility that provides long-term care, rehabilitative services and other treatment to senior citizens. 

Attorney General Schneiderman’s office opened an investigation after receiving multiple complaints about discrimination in the assignments of African-American nurses at the nursing home. Specifically, the complaints alleged that the nursing home accommodated the racially discriminatory preferences of a patient who did not want to be seen or treated by African-American nurses. The nursing home responded by reassigning all African-American nurses to another unit of the facility, barring African-American employees from working in the unit, and posting an order that read “No Colored Nurses” in the unit. 

“The fact that nearly 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some New Yorkers are still subject to racial discrimination at work – or anywhere – is shocking and unacceptable,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Sadly, this case demonstrates that racism is still alive, and that we must be aggressive and unwavering in rooting out racial discrimination by employers.” 

Marc Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, said, “Each day, we are confronted with bitter reminders of ongoing discrimination faced by African American and other underserved communities in the workplace. I applaud the Attorney General’s Office for enforcing our anti-discrimination laws and taking steps to ensure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of race.”

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law, it is unlawful to discriminate against employees based on race. Betsy Ross has agreed to implement new policies and reforms to protect the rights of employees and to ensure a nondiscriminatory environment for all employees going forward.

Under the terms of the settlement, Betsy Ross will implement a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy, retain a third-party diversity consultant who will conduct training for all of its employees, post public notices around its facilities regarding the nursing home’s commitment to nondiscrimination, develop new protocols for filing complaints concerning discrimination and provide reports to the Attorney General’s office for three years. Betsy Ross has also agreed not to retaliate against any current or former employees who participated in the Attorney General’s investigation.

The Attorney General’s Office is committed to ensuring compliance with federal and state laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race or color. To file a complaint, contact the Office’s Civil Rights Bureau at 212-416-8250 or Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov

The investigation was conducted by Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Travis Nembhard. The Civil Rights Bureau, led by Chief Kristen Clarke, is part of the Social Justice division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg.

A copy of today's agreement can be viewed here.

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