Nurse files discrimination suit against Advocate
Sun-Times Media October 5, 2012 8:52PM
OAK LAWN -- A former nurse at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn has filed a federal discrimination claiming she was harassed at work and eventually fired because she was black.
Ellanor Anderson filed the suit in U.S. District Court on Friday alleging she was treated with “hostility and disrespect” — because of her race. It charges discrimination, harassment, imposition of a hostile work environment and wrongful termination.
The suit also names Mary Ann Sedlacek, a manager in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Advocate Christ, as a defendant.
Anderson, of Oak Lawn, is a U.S. Navy veteran and registered nurse who was employed at Advocate from February 2007 until September 2008. She was initially one of four black nurses on the 80-nurse staff of the Adult Surgical Heart Unit, the suit claims.
She claims she was treated with disrespect and hostility by her supervisor, who made incessant criticisms and unfair performance reviews of Anderson.
She was then transfered to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, where she was one of three black nurses on a 21-person staff, working under Sedlacek, who was white, the suit claims.
And though she received a strong performance review, Anderson continued to be harassed, unfairly criticized and written up twice for no good reason — warnings that were negated by a review process, the suit claims.
Finally, in September 2009, Anderson informed her supervisors that she intended to file an EEOC discrimination charge, according to the suit. Within days, she was first suspended and then terminated.
The suit calls the termination “both discriminatory and retaliatory,” and claims other black employees also experienced “race-based hostility and discriminatory treatment by the white managers and nurses,” and this is the third employment discrimination suit dealing with the same time perod and same managers.
About three years after Anderson was fired, the EEOC issued a ruling in November 2011 that evidence “establishes reasonable cause to believe that respondent discriminated against a class of employees, including charging party, because of their race, black.”
The six-count suit seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for Advocate could not be reached immediately for comment on the suit Friday afternoon.