U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Employer Refused to Transfer Male Nurse to Operating Room Because of His Gender, Federal Agency Charged
ST. LOUIS – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed suit in federal court against Audrain Medical Center in Mexico, Mo., alleging that the center violated federal law by refusing to transfer a male nurse into the operating room because it preferred to have a female nurse in the room when female patients were being treated.
According to EEOC attorney Melvin Kennedy, Audrain revealed during the EEOC investigation that with the overwhelming presence of male surgeons and anesthesia staff, the hospital felt it must have female nursing staff in the operating room.
“The hospital’s failure to attract and hire women into the higher paying surgeon and anesthesia positions does not justify its insistence that it have female nursing staff in the OR,” said Kennedy.
EEOC Regional Attorney Barbara Seely said, “We have lived through a time in our country’s history where jobs had implicit gender designations. Doctors and lawyers were male jobs while nurses and flight attendants were female jobs. That time is over.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based upon sex, race, color, religion or national origin. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Case No. 4:11-cv-1369) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Audrain Medical Center employs approximately 500 people and serves primarily Mexico, Mo., and surrounding communities.
The EEOC enforces Title VII and other federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.