The Civil Rights Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s office has just announced the settlement and discontinuance of an investigation into an upstate nursing home where the AG sought to determine “whether the [nursing home] accommodated and acceded to the racially discriminatory preferences of patients by making reassignments of nurses on the basis of race and took other employment-related action that created a hostile work environment for African-American employees.”

The investigation uncovered a posted “Care Plan” which “indicated that ‘No Colored Nurses’ were allowed on the floor” where a white patient was housed.  The AG’s investigation “also revealed that the [nursing home] does not train or guide supervisors on prohibited conduct … [and] does not educate its employees as to their rights” under Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law.

As part of the settlement, the nursing home executed an “Assurance of Discontinuance” which provided that it must comply with a number of anti-discriminatory measures which include adopting a written EEOC policy, the appointment of an EEO officer, and the hiring of an outside diversity consultant to conduct anti-discrimination training.

Takeaway:  The preference of patients, clients or customers does not trump the anti-discrimination laws.