Nursing group sues Sutter Health, CPMC for alleged discrimination

The California Nurses Associated filed a class-action lawsuit against Sutter Health and California Pacific Medical Center last Wednesday for banning the hiring of Filipino RNs. It also filed a complaint with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, charging Sutter and CPMC with employment discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin.

Diana Karner, CPMC's vice president of nursing, allegedly told nurse supervisors that they were not to hire any Filipinos or foreign graduate nurses.

Somewhat odd looking hiring data suggests discriminatory practices made a dent in the nurse demographics. Before February 2008, 65 percent of RNs at St. Luke's Hospital, an affiliate of CPMC, were Filipino. After February 2008, 10 percent of RNs hired were Filipino.

Hospital CEO Warren Browner called the allegations dishonest and without merit, according to the Associated Press.

Some nurse supporters said they see the hiring ban as retaliation for RN opposition to Sutter and CPMC plans to cut services to a largely lower income, minority community.

"A hospital should be a center of therapeutic healing for patients, not a model of bigotry," said CNA Co-president Zenei Cortez.

To learn more:
- read the California Nurses Association press release
- here's The Asian Journal's article
- here's the Associated Press account