Fired Black Woman Claims Kaiser Supervisor Favored Whites
DENVER (CN) – A Kaiser supervisor, although black, favored whites and used racial slurs, a fired black woman claims in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Sharon Walker sued Kaiser Permanente for racial discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and violation of Kaiser’s collective bargaining agreement with Walker’s union, SEIU-Local 105.
In her lawsuit, Walker claims her supervisor (who is not named as a party) showed favoritism toward white employees over black employees, although the supervisor was herself black.
Other employees of both races also had problems with the supervisor, to the extent that several of them walked out of a staff luncheon when she was formally introduced in her new role as their direct supervisor, according to the complaint.
The supervisor “on a daily basis subjected the plaintiff to intentional differential treatment by purposely ignoring the plaintiff and supporting the Caucasian employees first and without hesitation,” the complaint states.
Walker contends her supervisor lied to union representatives and put Walker on a paid leave of absence in retaliation when Walker confronted her about her behavior in a team meeting. Walker also claims the disciplinary process was not adequately explained to her.
According to the lawsuit, another employee overheard the supervisor making racial slurs against black people and asked to be moved to another unit as a result. A different employee, a black man, was fired for helping Walker bring a complaint against the supervisor, and then he was brought back and forced into an early retirement, according to the lawsuit.
After Walker was fired, a union representative said she would be able to get her job back, due to a “technicality” with the supervisor’s documentation against Walker, according to the lawsuit. But ultimately, Walker was not reinstated, it says.
Sharon Walker seeks a jury trial. She is represented by John W. McKendree in Brighton, Colorado.