UCLA Hospital Employee Awarded $1.5M in Racial Harassment Lawsuit

In 2017, a former UCLA Health employee filed a lawsuit claiming she was subjected to harassment and bullying due to her race.

UCLA Hospital Employee Awarded $1.5M in Racial Harassment Lawsuit

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A former UCLA hospital employee, who alleged she was racially harassed and bullied by her coworkers, has been awarded $1.58 million.

In her lawsuit against the hospital, Nicole Birden complained she was subjected to racial harassment that included the use of the N-word, reports The Patch. She also claimed she was fired in 2016 due to her race, but the Los Angeles Superior Court jury rejected the claim.

The jury did, however, rule in her favor when Birden said she was subjected to severe harassment for being an African-American and that her supervisors failed to take corrective action.

Birden, 48, said she reported the harassment to her supervisors but they did not investigate or do anything to help, according to ABC 7.

“Ms. Birden did tell her supervisor about that verbally. She complained in writing. Her e-mails that she sent complaining of bullying and harassment were absolutely ignored by both of her supervisors,” her attorney, James DeSimone said.

According to the lawsuit, Birden also filed for discrimination and wrongful determination and claimed her coworker would often tamper with her work.

“Some of the blood samples that I would draw from patients in the hospital were being discarded in the trash and also being labeled with another patient’s name to try to sabotage my reputation and my performance,” Birden said.

The jury awarded her $500,000 for past emotional distress and mental harm, $800,000 for future emotional stress and mental harm and a combined $276,000 for past and future economic loss.

“We are thankful that a diverse Los Angeles jury could come together and give Ms. Birden the justice she deserved after a hard-fought jury trial,” DeSimone said.

UCLA issued a statement about its disappointment with the verdict.

“We are reviewing the decision and considering all available options. UCLA Health is committed to maintaining a workplace free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation of any kind,” the statement said.

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About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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