The Howley Law Firm has filed a federal race discrimination lawsuit against United Hospice, Inc. on behalf of a group of social workers and a volunteer coordinator.
The plaintiffs allege that they have been subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment by United Hospice, Chief Executive Officer Cara Danielle Pace, and Clinical Services Director Judith Peacock. The complaint alleges that senior managers regularly demean and humiliate Hispanic and Black employees in the workplace and deny them the same terms and conditions of employment as their White co-workers.
The pattern of discrimination alleged includes discriminatory treatment that has put the health and safety of minority employees at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many White employees have been allowed to work remotely during the pandemic, Hispanic and Black employees complain that they have been required to engage face-to-face with patients and their families – including those who are infected or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infections – even when services could be provided remotely.
The employees claim that they have tried to discuss their concerns of discriminatory treatment with the individual defendants, the Human Resources Director, and at least one member of the Board of Directors, only to have their concerns dismissed out of hand. They also claim that United Hospice, Pace, and Peacock have retaliated against them.
The complaint describes a workforce that is is segregated by race. All the executives are White. All the department directors except one are White. All the spiritual advisors except one are White. Almost all the nurses are White. Most of the full-time social workers who travel to the community homes and other care settings of patients and their families are Hispanic. All the home health care aides are Black or Hispanic.
Plaintiffs assert that this stark segregation of the workforce is exacerbated by discrimination and a pervasively hostile work environment for Hispanic and Black employees.
The complaint alleges claims of race discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Executive Law §§ 291, et seq. One plaintiff also asserts claims against United Hospice for violations of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.
Plaintiffs are dedicated to their work with hospice patients and their families, many of whom are also Black and Hispanic. They seek a permanent injunction prohibiting any further acts of discrimination or retaliation, as well as an award of compensatory and punitive damages for past acts of discrimination and retaliation.
The case is Alvarado v. United Hospice, Inc., No. 7:20 Civ. 10790 (S.D.N.Y.). John Howley, Esq. of The Howley Law Firm is lead counsel for the plaintiffs. For more information, contact The Howley Law Firm at (212) 601-27828.