florala, black nurses

Alabama Nurses Sue Employer For Allegedly Being Addressed As ‘N-Word’ And ‘Slaves’

A group of nine Black women nurses and certified nursing assistants at Florala Health and Rehabilitation in Covington County, AL, has allegedly been called “ugly” and ridiculed for their “skin, hair texture, and supposed smell.”

According to AL.com, Shekeya Thomas, Angelia Williams, Kierra Blue, Keonna Crittenden, Cassandra Westry, Chantel Mayes, Melissa Hobdy, Courtney Love, and Michele Carswell sued the assisted living facility in Covington County, AL, claiming that the center violated federal anti-discrimination laws.

In a federal lawsuit filed on July 25, 2023, the women claim were threatened, called racial slurs, and faced retaliatory action when reporting cases of discrimination. The suit claims that one woman was fired and another excluded from the work schedule.

“Compounding the unequal treatment of Black employees based on race, some Plaintiffs have witnessed abusive and unequal conditions directed at Black patients at Florala Rehabilitation, some of whom are left to live in squalid and substandard conditions,” the lawsuit states.

The facility, which the lawsuit describes as a “racially hostile” and a “retaliatory hostile” work environment. Several incidents of discrimination were mentioned, including the Black professionals being addressed as “the little Black girls,” the N-word, and “slaves.” The lawsuit alleges that several white managers and employees expressed their idea that the “dirty work” should be assigned to Blacks as the “normal order of things.”

“These comments were made in the presence of African Americans, to African Americans, with almost a sense of pride,” the nurses’ attorney, Artur Davis, said. “It is chilling to see an environment where people feel comfortable expressing their racism.” The Atlanta Black Star reported that the lawsuit also alleges the white staffers have a group chat filled with racist commentary about the Black staff members.

The plaintiffs filed their complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The complaint was filed in federal court as Alabama remains one of the five states without a civil rights law and other laws that protect employees from harmful work environments. 

NHS Management, LLC., the company that owns the assisted living facility, is also being sued in the case.