Hostile work environment cited in complaint
by Dennis Ernst • September 11, 2019
A jury in California has ordered the University of California to pay $1.58 million to a phlebotomist who alleged she was harassed and subjected to racist comments by coworkers. Nicole Birden, a phlebotomist at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, sued her employer in 2016, claiming her colleagues used racial slurs, made disparaging remarks about her skin color and tampered with blood samples she had drawn. In her suit, she claimed the activity created a hostile work environment.
Shortly after Ms. Birden began working for UCLA in 2015, her complaint claims she experienced racially motivated discrimination, harassment, and bullying from co-workers and supervisors including harassing phone calls on hospital-issued phones during work hours. She claimed her coworkers also mislabeled tubes of blood she had drawn or threw them away altogether. In June of 2016, her employment was abruptly terminated despite the fact that she was never reprimanded, written up or received any kind of disciplinary action against her, according to an article posted on her attorney's website about the award.
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