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Discrimination in Protecting Health Care Workers

This case demonstrates US legislation’s imperfection to protect health care workers and the need to change it. In the case of Teoka Williams, I would refuse to satisfy the patient’s request, since it does not have a compelling legal reason. As noted in the case, the staff’s non-discrimination rights are practically not protected, and the patient has the right to replace the nurse. However, while federal law recognizes that gender, religion, and national origin can be reasonably necessary for the normal provision of health care services, race is not included in this exemption (42 USC § 2000e-2 (e)). For example, in some cases, a woman may request a female nurse due to religious reasons or a Hispanic staff member because of language barriers; however, race cannot be a reason to refuse. In addition, the same law prohibits an employer from limiting, segregating, or classifying employees by race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; hence, the prohibition against serving a patient is a violation (42 USC § 2000e-2 (a)). Thus, the hospital has legal reasons for not following the patient’s request.

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In the case of a lawsuit, I would settle it and develop a policy to discourage discriminatory patient requests. I would do this because a person’s race should not be an obstacle to his or her work and discrimination in the hospital. In addition, some federal laws protect employees in such cases, so the court can find the hospital guilty. One of the regulations has already been discussed above; the other is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which requires healthcare employers to protect their healthcare staff from harassment and discrimination and respond effectively to such behavior, even if the patient initiates it (Bertoncini et al., 2019). Therefore, this federal law demonstrates that a nurse can win a case against a hospital. However, Texas, Michigan, or the United States do not have laws that explicitly prohibit patient discriminatory behavior against medical professionals. Thus, state and national governments need to consider such a bill and establish the rules that identify if patients can ask to replace a nurse, or a request cannot be satisfied and considered discrimination.

References

Michael R. Bertoncini, M.R., Koroghlian-Scott, A., & McDermott, D.P. (2019). Healthcare employers’ Title VII obligations in harassment, discrimination of employees by patients. The National Law Review, IX(317). Web.

42 U.S. Code § 2000e–2 – Unlawful employment practices.

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