A New Jersey jury has awarded a $6 million verdict, including $4.13 million in punitive damages, in a racial discrimination suit by an administrator at a Care One nursing facility.
The verdict came in a lawsuit filed by Rebecca McCarthy, an African American woman fired from her $190,000-per-year job as vice president of clinical leadership at the company’s facility in Bound Brook.
McCarthy was fired the day after Alison Fitzpatrick-Durski became interim administrator of the Bound Brook facility. McCarthy said in the complaint that Fitzpatrick-Durski first asked her on Oct. 31, 2016, to consider returning to the position of clinical services consultant, a post she held at the company before being promoted to her present job.
When McCarthy remained silent, Fitzpatrick-Durski allegedly told her “I don’t want a black person walking around here in a suit as a VP. I want you in scrubs, flats and a lab coat.” Fitzpatrick-Durski fired McCarthy the next day.
Fitzpatrick-Durski denied making any reference to race in her comments to McCarthy, and claimed she was instead encouraging McCarthy to engage in hands-on patient care when the nursing staff needed help, and to change into scrubs when necessary, according to court papers.