LOS ANGELES: Board Recommends Settlement of Discrimination Claims
A Los Angeles County panel this week recommended paying $540,000 in public money to settle lawsuits filed by two Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center emergency room doctors, who claim they were discriminated against because they are white. According to the lawsuits, the physicians submitted over 140 employment grievances that the African Americans heading the hospital's emergency department harassed and threatened them because of their race. In a third suit, Dr. Subramaniam Balasubramaniam, former interim ED head, alleged that he was repeatedly passed over when trying to reacquire the position permanently due to his refusal to agree to "groom" a black successor. The county Civil Service Commission ruled that the hospital boasts "an unwritten policy of maintaining itself as a black institution and of placing black candidates in positions of leadership ... to the exclusion of non-blacks." An appeals court last month upheld the decision and ordered a trial to determine monetary damages. County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, however, denied the charges, claiming that the "medical center has the most diverse group of department heads in the county." The Board of Supervisors will consider the proposed settlements on Feb. 29 (Riccardi, Los Angeles Times, 2/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.