“All 12 jurors just said, ‘This is not Hawaii,'” said Carl Varady, Harris’ attorney. “‘We’re the Aloha State. We’re not going down the pathway of hate.'”
Jurors were told that Harris, the only black nurse at the time in the medical intensive care unit, reported concerns to management that a co-worker was stealing narcotics intended for patients. Two other nurses eventually reported the same drug-use suspicions to management, Varady said.
After Harris reported her initial patient-safety concerns to management, the harassment against her intensified, and she found the racist note in her mailbox the next day, Varady said.
Queen’s Medical Center spokesman Cedric Yamanaka said the center is disappointed in the verdict and will be filing an appeal.
The case was one of two discrimination cases in Hawaii filed by African-American workers that included the use of a noose.
In the other case, Hawaiian Airlines worker Timothy Degrate filed a lawsuit claiming he complained to management for months about a hostile work environment, including racial harassment.
Despite the complaints, he found a noose fashioned from rope hanging on the locker next to his in August 2016.
Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement in January that an independent investigation of Degrate’s allegations was unable to verify actions by specific individuals. It also said the airline was committed to maintaining a fair and safe work environment.
The lawsuit is pending.
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