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Ask The Lawyer By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

| January 28, 2018

MAY RACIST RESIDENT INSIST ON HAVING WHITE CAREGIVER?

QUESTION: I own a residential facility for severely handicapped adults. One of our residents will only accept care from white, non-Hispanic caregivers. Most of our staff is black or Latino; trying to schedule our two white caregivers to meet this resident’s schedule is a nightmare, and it just feels wrong. Do I have any obligation to give her what she wants?

ANSWER: Federal and state law forbid discriminating against people on the basis of race; when you accede to a customer’s race-based preferences, you engage in racial discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the Civil Rights Act’s prohibitions against discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion or color issues guidelines on how to handle discrimination claims, and their guidance on this issue is clear: Racism, even on behalf of an unreasonable client, is not acceptable.

In 2013, a major medical center paid roughly $200,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by nurses who objected when the hospital gave in to a white father’s demand that no African-American nurses care for his newborn.

If the resident at your establishment cannot accept the qualified caregivers you are able to provide, she can choose to look for another residence.

The lawyers at GWINN LEGAL PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at www.gwinnlegal.com.

Information provided on “Ask the Lawyer” is current as of the date of publication. Laws and their interpretation are subject to change. The material provided through “Ask the Lawyer” is informational only; it should not be considered legal advice. Submitting a question to “Ask the Lawyer” does not create an attorney-client relationship between the person submitting the question and GWINN LEGAL PLLC. To view previous columns, please visit our website.

The lawyers at GWINN LEGAL PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. .

GWINN LEGAL PLLC
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile
daniel@gwinnlegal.com
Gwinn Legal

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