Black Kaiser Employee Alleges Hate Crimes
By Tish Kraft
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A black employee claims Kaiser maintains a "racially-charged and hostile environment," which includes hate crime, in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Xavier Fields sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Permanente International for race discrimination, disparate treatment, retaliation, hate crimes and a hostile work environment.
Fields seeks at least $9 million, plus punitive damages, interest, and attorneys and court fees.
He alleges in his complaint that defendants knew of the "racially-charged and hostile environment," but did nothing, and even condoned it and participated in it, including this: "Plaintiff's supervisors either engaged in and/or condoned the conduct of hanging a racist, altered doll in effigy in plaintiff's work area which contained a racial epithet and a racially-charged threat on the doll. This conduct was directed specifically at plaintiff and other African-American employees who worked in plaintiff's area as a racist, hostile attack and threat."
A photocopy of the doll attached to the complaint shows a realistic-looking muscled black man, nearly stripped, with wrists bound, apparently hanging from a noose with the words, "NIGGERS HANG" on the torso.
Fields alleges that at the center of a "civil conspiracy to deprive plaintiff of his rights and to cause him injury, harm and damages," "is a central team of decision-makers, officers, managers, members and senior executives."
He claims that, "defendants had actual, constructive and inquiry knowledge that the workplace was discriminatory, unlawfully managed, replete with threats and incidents of wrongful termination and that a hostile environment for the alleged protected classes of persons and the targeted victims of the hostile environment existed. Notwithstanding such knowledge, defendants (and their managing agents, officers, directors, senior executives, etc.) took no action; and, in fact, participated in, supported and condoned such discrimination and unlawful activity."
Fields also says in his complaint that "each defendant (separately and together) has a history of operating [its] business in a discriminatory manner," and "defendants are aware of such practices and have made a conscious decision to continue in such practices."
In at least the Los Angeles Kaiser facility in which Fields works, conditions of work have differed depending on the worker's race, according to the complaint, with more favorable treatment of non-African American employees. The complaint also states that "the workplace was permeated by ... sexist, racist and inappropriate comments of a stereotypical, sexual and hostile nature."
Disparate treatment listed in the complaint includes that Fields received fewer resources and lower quality assignments; was not given proper credit for his accomplishments; was compensated less favorably than others with the same experience; was more harshly criticized and disciplined; and was not fairly considered for promotions, merit increases and/or pay increases. The complaint also states that Fields received inaccurate and unfair performance reviews; he was unfairly denied access to meetings, resources, correct information and other assistance; and he "was not properly trained by his supervisors who desired to prevent plaintiff from excelling in the workplace."
The complaint states that "all of the foregoing occurred by design and with the full knowledge of all defendants. When such conduct was brought to the attention of all defendants by plaintiff, defendants failed and refused to take any corrective action and continued in their course of discrimination. In fact, defendants retaliated against plaintiff by increasing the severity of the conduct described [above] in retaliation for plaintiff's alleging discrimination against defendants."
Fields is represented by Michael S. Traylor of Northridge.