Harassed at Kaiser Hospital, Black Man Says | Courthouse News Service
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Harassed at Kaiser Hospital, Black Man Says

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The lone black man in a Kaiser hospital Magnetic Resonance Imaging department was the target of a years-long campaign of discrimination, he alleges in Federal Court.

Plaintiff Sam Chiles, 42, was hired as an MRI technician at a Kaiser hospital in Sonoma County, in 2007, his complaint states. Over the next five years he was subjected to numerous acts of discrimination due to his race and age, which Kaiser allowed to continue, resulting in a hostile work environment, he says in his complaint.

Most of the discrimination came at the hands of co-defendants Frezghi Mengistab, an MRI Lead Technician; Deana Vestyns, an SRO Imaging Services Assistant Director; and Dr. Daniel Penn M.D., Chief of Medical Imaging, according to the complaint.

Chiles, the only African American and the youngest employee in the department, says he made several complaints about defendants' "disparate treatment" of him, but was ignored.

Some of his complaints include his exclusion from training opportunities, denial of opportunities to work in certain facilities due to lack of training, "embarrassment and humiliation" in front of patients and peers, truncated lunch breaks, assignment of duties outside his job description and last-minute schedule changes, according to the complaint. He also says he suspects that defendants contacted another of his employers, making "derogatory" comments about him, which affected his job opportunities, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the defendants went as far as to advise Chiles to "transfer to another facility because the discrimination and harassment of defendants 'was not going to stop and he was outnumbered.' Plaintiff, believing he had no choice transferred to another facility. Plaintiff's reputation has been damaged. Due to the discriminatory acts of defendants and each of them, plaintiff is now known as the 'Angry Black Man.' Plaintiff has suffered severe emotional distress, has been devastated emotionally, incurred attorney fees and costs as a result of defendants' and each of them unlawful and discriminatory actions."

Chiles cites violations of state and federal law and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Angela Morgan, Logan Law Group in San Ramon, represents the plaintiff.

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