Race harassment suit costs Stanford and Stanford Health $10 million

In a lawsuit against Stanford and Stanford Health, the plaintiff says this photo shows a co-worker dressed as a member of the KKK.

A judge has ordered Stanford University and Stanford Health Care to pay $10 million in damages in connection with an employee’s racial harassment case that included allegations of a staffer dressing as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

In March, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found that the two organizations had defamed patient testing technician Qiqiuia Young, who is African American, after she had sued the
health care provider for racial harassment and retaliation for whistle-blowing. Young’s lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleges that coworkers used the N-word and mistreated black patients. One
image included in the lawsuit pictures someone, whom the lawsuit says is a Stanford Health staffer, dressing as a member of the Ku Klux Klan in what appears to be a patient examination room.

“I couldn’t turn a blind eye to what people were doing,” said Young, who is Black. “I had to speak out. And when I did, they tried to silence me.”

In the alleged costume incident, the lawsuit said that one of Young’s co-workers dressed up like a KKK member in a Cancer Center exam room on Halloween 2014.

In addition, a photo of the costumed worker was sent around to other employees “for the purposes of threatening and intimidating Ms. Young based on her race,” the lawsuit alleged.

After Young reported the incident, she suffered retaliation including being passed up for promotion and being wrongly accused of coming to work late every day, the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit also alleged that employees used the N-word repeatedly around Young. But when Young reported the conduct, her manager sent her two videos “which repeat the N-word ad nauseum
and one of which ‘joked’ about the racist stereotype about black women loving fried chicken,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also accuses Stanford Health Care of unsafe practices, such as allegedly not regularly checking a “crash cart” in the Cancer Center used to revive patients in an emergency.

The day after Young filed her lawsuit, Stanford dean Lloyd Minor and Stanford Health Care CEO
David Entwistle sent an email to 22,000 recipients saying that Young’s claims were “grossly exaggerated and largely inaccurate,” according to court filings.

Recipients included medical school faculty, staff, students and researchers, court records said.
After the letter went out, Young revised her lawsuit to include a defamation claim. She said the letter painted her as dishonest.

In March, the Alameda County Superior Court jury found that the email had defamed Young.

“Racist actions, including the incident that took place almost 10 years ago, have no place at Stanford Health Care,” the health care organization said in a
statement Thursday. “Those actions in no way reflect the organization and community we are today. We respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict and continue to pursue all post-judgment remedies.”

The CEO’s letter that was sent after the lawsuit was filed said that all of the employees involved in the Halloween-costume incident, including those who saw the photo but didn’t report it, were fired.

The jury initially awarded Young $20 million in damages, but Alameda County Superior Court Judge
Karin Schwartz reduced Young’s award to $10 million on June 13.

“My client is a hero,” said Lara Villarreal Hutner, Young’s attorney, in the press release. “It’s been a nearly decade-long battle of David versus Goliath. And she’s won.”

1 Comment

  1. Sutter is such a dusaster these days you’d think something could be done. I know 2 friends who are long-term PAMF patients who got such runaround when they needed emergency surgery that one went elsewhere and the other suffered for way too long. Even concierge patients paying $600 are being denied service and given false and nasty excuses. And don’t EVER try to call into PAMF because their phone systems are such disasters.

    A detailed expose would be most welcome.

Comments are closed.