Small Great Things: Workplace Discrimination

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

I recently finished reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, whose title was inspired by this quote. The book tackles racism in the United States by focusing on a case ripped from the headlines.

As I was reading the book, I was coincidentally working on a compilation of discrimination cases, and decided to look into this particular case using our EPLI loss data  (it’s case #708179 for those with access to our loss data).

The Real Life Workplace Discrimination Case

Workplace Discrimination ImageIn 2012, a hospital in Flint, Michigan allegedly honored a white father’s request that no black nurses care for his baby. The father allegedly rolled up his sleeve and showed a tattoo that was believed to be a swastika while talking to the supervisor. The patient’s file then had a note that read, “No African American nurses to take care of baby.” The plaintiff, who had worked at the facility for 25 years, and other black nurses were reassigned.

See related: Notable Hospital Losses

On February 22, 2013, both sides announced a settlement of $110,000 for the original complaint, which was later amended to include two additional nurses, who each received $41,250. A fourth nurse filed a complaint that was settled on November 4, 2014 for $65,000.

The total settlement amount for these discrimination cases was $257,500.

Other Workplace Discrimination Cases

Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace persists. To give you a sense of the financial impact of these types of cases, we’ve published Notable Discrimination Losses, which highlights 12 discrimination cases, half of which are workplace discrimination cases.

In one notable case, a French rail operator suffered $168 million in losses after being found guilty of discriminating against hundreds of Moroccan workers.

Another case led to a settlement of $32.5 million after a stock brokerage firm allegedly discriminated against black Finanical Services Representatives, who were paid lower wages than their peers.

Check out these and other discrimination cases in Notable Discrimination Losses.