Black Caregivers Banned From White Client Lose Appeal

Months after two black home health care workers filed a lawsuit against Spectrum Health System alleging race discrimination, an appeals court upheld a federal judge’s decision that the women had waited too long to take action, according to an Associated Press article.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., alleges that the two workers, Tywana Pittman and Tatanisha Smith, were reassigned because a client’s guardian did not want black workers caring for the white patient, previous articles state.

Attorney Julie Gafkay, who had represented clients in similar situations, said that the workers’ manager told them in March 2012 that “black employees could no longer work with that patient,” MLive reported last year.

However, their lawsuit wasn’t filed until Jan. 10, 2014 — leading an appeals court to ultimately decide that the women had waited too long to file a lawsuit against Spectrum Health.

Judge Robert Holmes Bell also found that the women couldn’t demonstrate a “long-standing … policy of discrimination” that would let the case go forward, the AP article states.

To read the Associated Press article, click here. To read the MLive email, click here.

Written by Emily Study