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Via:  WTVR.com

Angela Pellerano Weekend Anchor/Reporter – February 16, 2010

The lawsuit stemmed from the hospital’s awards bonus program. Approximately 2,000 African-American workers believed their white counterparts were being recognized more frequently — and getting more money than they were.But now, that’s all changed.

Nurses, Beverly Hatcher and Anniemarie Harrison believe the award system will now be fair for everyone at Hunter Holmes McGuire Richmond VA Medical Center.

Hatcher, who served in the U.S. Army for 10 years and has worked at the hospital for 17, claims she had been overlooked for going above and beyond her responsibilities since 1993 compared to her white counterparts.

Her breaking point was in 2002. She picked up a patient who had wandered off, but says she didn’t get the recognition she thought she deserved

“And I went to the union and became a steward and because of that I was like enough. Someone has to be the voice around here”, says Hatcher

At about the same time, Harrison, an Iraqi war veteran and a nursing coordinator at the hospital says she had heard similar complaints from her staff. “As I made my rounds throughout the hospital I could hear the staff talking ‘Betty sue just got an increase in her paycheck, and I didn’t. What’s the reason?”, says Harrison.

From there, a class action lawsuit was filed against the hospital.

On Tuesday, after almost ten years, the hospital settled. Not admitting they discriminated against the workers, but say they could not find the proper documents to defend themselves.

They went on to say in a statement “Discrimination is not tolerated at the Department of Veterans Affairs”.

Hatcher and Harrison say this lawsuit will boost morale for all employees at the hospital for years to come, and make care for the patients even better.

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