A nursing home executive, who was fired because she is black, has been awarded a $6 million payout in a New Jersey discrimination suit.
Rebecca McCarthy in a lawsuit against Care One claimed she was discriminated against when a senior vice president of the facility Alison Fitzpatrick-Durski told her: “I don’t want a black person walking around here in a suit as VP. I want you in scrubs, flats, and a lab coat.”
McCarthy who was promoted to a vice president position in 2016 by the company to stop her leaving for another job said in her complaints that after few months in her role Fitzpatrick-Durski took over as administrator of the Bound Brook facility.
Fitzpatrick-Durski asked her to go back to her old position, McCarthy said in her lawsuit in the Superior Court in Bergen County. The next day she was fired and replaced by a white woman.
“A black person just like any other hardworking qualified person deserves to hold a VP title and wear a suit without discrimination,” McCarthy said. “Ms. Fitzpatrick-Durski made it clear to me on her first day on the job that she didn’t want to see a black person in the VP position.”
Fitzpatrick-Durski, however, denied referring to race when speaking to McCarthy during the trial in Bergen County Superior Court, arguing that she only encouraged her to engage in hands-on patient care when the nursing staff needed help and to change into scrubs when necessary.
Lawyers for Care One claimed that McCarthy was fired because of her performance, insisting Fitzpatrick-Durski was not a racist, reports Daily Mail.
The lawyers also stated that Fitzpatrick-Durski was previously married to an African American man and “is the mother of three children who partake of African American heritage”.
However, McCarthy’s lawyers pushed back insisting race was the sole reason behind her firing, describing a previous incident in which Fitzpatrick-Durski referred to another black employee as a slave.
A jury ruled in McCarthy’s favor on November 1, awarding the plaintiff $4.1 million in punitive damages, $1.8 million for past and future lost wages and $5,000 for mental anguish, according to court documents.
The defense filed a motion to dismiss the verdict. A judge is expected to rule on the motion November 22.
Speaking on the Jury’s verdict, McCarthy said: “I am very happy that justice was served.”
“It is a shame that CareOne continues to defend such disgusting behavior,” McCarthy told Atlanta Black Star. “I hope that this never happens to anyone else.”