Lone Black worker at Texas outreach clinic sues employer, alleging discrimination, harassment
Jazzalynn McMurrin, a nurse at Galveston's MD Anderson Cancer Center, said she sought professional help and was prescribed anti-depressant medication.
A nurse who was the only Black staffer at an outpatient clinic in Galveston, Texas, is suing her employer, MD Anderson Cancer Center, citing ongoing racial discrimination, harassment, retaliation and negligence, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Jazzalynn McMurrin filed a lawsuit against her employer on June 1, accusing the medical giant of failing to provide a safe workplace and condoning “insulting, degrading, bigoted conduct” by not investigating or taking appropriate action after she complained repeatedly about being mistreated. In her suit, she alleges that she was frequently “singled out” because of her race.
The Chronicle reports that McMurrin maintains she was constantly subjected to racist comments about African American physical features such as the thickness of her lips and other comments about makeup, which prompted her to stop wearing cosmetic lashes.
“When a co-worker received lip fillers, that worker said, referring to herself, ‘Stan said you look like a white Jazz,'” the lawsuit states. “Later, the same co-worker went on to report that another said to her that ‘Jazz don’t have to buy lips, a**, or suntan.”
Further, McMurrin says she was subjected to frequent write-ups accusing her of improper conduct, including “eye-rolling” and displaying “hostile body language.” The suit notes that she was even asked to take a “professionalism” class.
McMurrin also alleges that she was subjected to retaliation after she filed grievances about her treatment, including having her belongings moved to a new workstation — with some personal items, photos, thrown away without her permission. When she inquired about the dates of her supposed improper conduct, she was told they happened during a week she was on vacation, according to the lawsuit.
Her claims also include being assigned to a particularly tedious unit, then resent to that station within 10 days instead of the usual six-week preclusion from returning. Told she was covering for a fellow nurse, McMurrin later found out her colleague was not absent, the suit says.
McMurrin alleges in her lawsuit that she subsequently sought professional help and was prescribed anti-depressant medication, and endured headaches and other psychosomatic ailments.
Officials at MD Anderson Cancer Center chose not to comment to The Chronicle on the pending litigation. However, they offered a statement, saying, “MD Anderson is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our community of 22,000 employees is supported and connected through our DEI programs and services, which are a top priority for our leadership.”
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