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AVH SUIT ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Six African-American women who work or used to work at Antelope Valley Hospital have filed a discrimination lawsuit saying they were denied promotions and treated unfairly because of their race.

The lawsuit says hospital administrators did nothing when the women complained to them about racially insensitive remarks made by white co-workers.

``The more publicity and the more scrutiny that comes to this, the better, because it's very clear this has been going on for a long time, the absence of African-American supervisors or managers, the sort of institutionalized old-boy, old-girl network,'' said the plaintiffs' attorney, William Bloch. ``The only way things change is when we shine the light and make cockroaches and rats scatter.''

The lawsuit seeks more than $2 million in damages.

Attorneys for the hospital and hospital officials declined comment.

``It's a pending lawsuit. It would be inappropriate for us to comment,'' hospital spokesman Ed Callahan said.

The plaintiffs are Yvette Crayon, Leah Davis, Kevita White-Leslie, Carla Bowden, Victoria Johnson and Carla Harvey.

Crayon worked in respiratory care and was employed from April 2001 to February 2003; Harvey worked as pharmacy technician from March to October 2002; and Johnson, who worked as a secretary in the marketing department, was at the hospital from February 1996 to July 2002, the lawsuit said.

Bowden works in the dietary department, Davis is out on workers' compensation leave, and White-Leslie is a part-time respiratory care employee who hasn't worked since June, Bloch said.

``The pool of minority employees at AVH are disproportionately occupying lower paid, lower level jobs. Plaintiffs ... allege that African-American employees are denied opportunities for advancement or training, motivated by AVH's racial animus,'' the lawsuit says.

Crayon reported in January 2002 that after she gave a report on patients, a white co-worker whistled at Crayon ``as though Crayon were a dog,'' the lawsuit said.

Supervisors did nothing about Crayon's complaint about that incident, and thereafter a white supervisor began to unfairly pick on and criticize Crayon for common charting errors, the lawsuit says.

Other workers were not disciplined for similar errors, the lawsuit says.

Davis, who worked as an environmental service aide, was cleaning the nurses' station in the emergency room in mid-2002 when she asked a nurse if she would allow her to clean in one area, the lawsuit said.

When Davis said, ``Excuse me, I need to get over in this corner,'' the nurse said, ``Yessir massa,'' the lawsuit said. The nurse then stated to Davis, ```Why use that one (referring to the dust mop in her hand) when you can use the other one on top instead?' (referring to using her head and hair, and mocking her appearance as an African-American female),'' the lawsuit says.

White-Leslie had worked in respiratory care since August 2000 and in March 2001 was made a supervisor. In November 2002, White-Leslie was forced to resign as supervisor in lieu of being terminated, the lawsuit said.

White-Leslie ``alleges that this demotion was and is in retaliation for confirming details of Crayon's discriminatory treatment,'' the lawsuit says.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 21, 2003
Words:509
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