Two black orderlies are alleging that an anesthesiologist and technician at North Shore University Hospital harassed them with nooses and racist comments, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“Where I work, there are a lot of educated people with an immature way of behaving,” said Elijah Crawford, who filed the suit. “When I see a noose, it’s a statement of racial hate,” he told the Daily News.
Technician Mario Nistico has already admitted to having placed a noose from a light fixture in an operating room two summers ago. He also admitted to hanging a second noose last year.
However, Nistico claimed that he placed the nooses as an inside joke towards a surgeon who was difficult to work with. He said other surgeons complained they wanted to “hang themselves” as a result.
The noose also came from a discussion Nistico had with the anesthesiologist, Dr. Charles Militana, about capital punishment.
“Dr. Militana asked if I knew how to make a noose,” Nistico said. He then showed him how to do so, leaving the noose on a locker as an afterthought.
Nistico admitted he erred in leaving the noose. “It’s something that was done that was stupid on my behalf,” he said, revealing that he was suspended without pay and forced to take a class on workplace behavior.
Militana allegedly made sexual remarks to Crawford regarding his genital size and questioned President Barack Obama’s intellect due to his race.
“How can Obama be smart? He is black,” the lawsuit cited him as having said. It is also said that the hospital did not report the noose incidents to police, instead ordering Militana and Nistico to give “half-hearted apologies”
“They (the hospital) wanted to cover it up,” said Ishmael Cox (pictured right), the second orderly behind the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified financial compensation for emotional stress.
North Shore spokesman Terry Lynam said the Long Island hospital has zero tolerance for discrimination.
“Our policy and practices promote diversity and respect for employees. Unfortunately, we can’t get into a discussion about the allegations because it’s under litigation,” he said.