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Posted On: March 12, 2010 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Elgin Mental Health Center Worker Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Virdia Spain a former Elgin Mental Health Center aide who was fired after a patient in her care died from a food allergy filed a lawsuit against her former employer claiming she was terminated based on on racial discrimination--because she is black. According to the lawsuit her employer blamed her and another minority worker for the death, while a white employee who was more responsible went unpunished and did not lose his job.

The tragic incident involved Howard Morris, who was a patient and who was given fish for dinner despite warnings of his severe allergy. Morris went into anaphylactic shock and died. The employer blamed Spain and the other minority worker and fired her. This type of case illustrates how some employers may try to limit their liability by blaming a worker and taking action against the worker. In this case, Spain, was an employee for Elgin Mental Health Center for 20 years.

"Myself and Mrs. Tuson, both being minorities were accused of reckless homicide when all the evidence shows that the (other employee) assigned dinner trays," the suit states. "Also, Mr. Morris had eaten 75 percent - 80 percent of his dinner before I took over."

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