Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Nursing, rehab center faces claims of race discrimination, retaliation under human rights statute

State Court

By John Breslin | Nov 13, 2019

Madisondiscrimination

EDWARDSVILLE - A nursing assistant has accused her former employer of racial discrimination and retaliation after claiming she was verbally abused and assaulted by another staff member.

Nicole Hobson, who worked for Granite Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Granite City until May this year, cited in her complaint a number of alleged examples of hostile and aggressive behavior by the senior employee, who is not named as a defendant.

Hobson filed suit Nov. 5 in Madison County Circuit Court accusing the center of violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act under its race discrimination and retaliation provisions. The center did not immediately respond to a request from the Record.

The core of the complaint centers on a number of incidents in February, during which the plaintiff claims she was racially abused, including an allegation that the N-word was used on three occasions, and assaulted. She claims there were witnesses, and that the alleged assault was reported to police.

Hobson also claims that following the incidents cited, the employer asked her to apologize to the staff member, which the plaintiff described as "incomprehensible and demeaning" because of the belief she did nothing wrong.

In the first alleged confrontation, on Feb. 11, Hobson states she was attending to a resident with a colleague when the senior staff member entered the room and "started yelling and screaming." This included the allegation she called the plaintiff a "little n***** bitch."

Some time later on the same day, there was a second incident during which Hobson claims the employee "moved aggressively towards her," threw a piece of paper, and repeated racially charged language.

Hobson told a supervisor, and reported the incident to police, the complaint states, but adds a third confrontation led to further abuse, after which the plaintiff was purportedly asked to apologize.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $50,000 in damages for race discrimination, retaliation, and and for creating a hostile work environment.

She is represented by John Leskera of the Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-1578.

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