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Black health workers lose appeal in white patient care

Associated Press

Grand Rapids — An appeals court has upheld a decision that kills a discrimination lawsuit filed by black home health care workers who were told they couldn’t take care of a white patient.

The court agreed Wednesday with a Grand Rapids federal judge who said the women waited too long to file a lawsuit against Spectrum Health. Judge Robert Holmes Bell also found that the women couldn’t demonstrate a “long-standing … policy of discrimination” that would let the case go forward.

The women are two certified nursing assistants and a home health aide. They were assigned to provide care to a white man who suffered from brain injuries. But in spring 2012, the patient’s guardian told Spectrum Health that no black employees should be assigned to the man.