EEOC v. Central Park Lodges Long Term Care, Inc., d/b/a Linden Grove Health Care Center

No. 04-5627 RBL (W.D. Wash. May 13, 2005)

In the complaint in this Title VII case, the Seattle District Office alleged that a nursing facility in Puyallup, Washington, one of 20 long-term care facilities that defendant owns, discriminated against nursing staff members in assignments, terms and conditions of employment, and promotions on the basis of race (black) and subjected staff to a racially hostile work environment. For example, the all-white care management team, after meeting with a white resident's family members, prepared a care plan for the resident incorporating the family's request that no "colored girls" work with the resident. Management also tolerated frequent use of racial slurs by residents and employees. When a resident's family member referred to another of the charging parties as a "slave" in the presence of the DNS, the DNS downplayed the gravity of the comment and told the charging party to ignore it. In addition, management usually assigned nursing staff to shifts by race, with most of the blacks on the night shift and most of the whites on the more desirable day and evening shifts, when most of the visitors came to the facility. Defendant ignored requests by black nursing staff members for day and evening assignments. Defendant also assigned black and white employees to separate lunchtimes and lunchrooms. One of the black charging parties applied twice for a promotion to a staffing position for which she had several years of experience and was highly qualified. Defendant rejected her both times, once in favor of a white woman who had not applied for the job but was a friend of the hiring official. Seven claimants intervened and the court certified for monetary relief a Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 class of 150 current and former nonwhite caregivers employed between November 15, 2000, and November 15, 2004. The decree provides for $270,000 in monetary relief to be provided to the eight class representatives, $100,000 to other claimants based on criteria set out in the decree, and $125,000 in attorney's fees and $5,000 in costs to class counsel. The decree provides that defendant will not engage in practices that discriminate on the basis of race or that constitute retaliation for engaging in protected EEOC activity.

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