A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement Stemming From ‘No Haitians’ Classified Ad

A.G. Schneiderman Secures Agreement Stemming From ‘No Haitians’ Classified Ad

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an agreement with Interim Healthcare of Greater New York, Inc., a local franchise of one of the largest healthcare staffing agencies in the nation, that will protect applicants and potential applicants against discrimination on the basis of national origin, race or any other protected class. The settlement resolves the Attorney General’s investigation of Interim Healthcare, an investigation which arose after the Attorney General learned that Interim Healthcare had placed an advertisement requesting a female “laid back nurse, no Haitians.”

“Blatantly discriminatory job advertisements like this are wrong and clearly illegal,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My Office is committed to ensuring equal access to employment for all New Yorkers and will not tolerate discrimination against any New Yorker based on race or national origin or any other protected status.”

The Attorney General’s investigation included reviewing policies related to hiring, advertising and internal complaints; anti-discrimination policies; copies of published advertisements for employment; and documents produced by Interim Healthcare relating directly to the published advertisement that excluded Haitian applicants.

The investigation found that the discriminatory advertisement stemmed from a patient’s request, specifically asking for a nurse who was not Haitian. Interim Healthcare workers placed this discriminatory request for publication in the Pennysaver newspaper in error. Prior to being published, the advertisement was not reviewed for compliance with Interim Healthcare’s internal equal opportunity policies or compliance with governing civil rights laws.

The investigation also revealed that Interim Healthcare placed a number of advertisements stating that only females or males could apply, without conducting an individualized analysis of each patient’s request to determine if there was a bona fide occupational qualification justifying a gender-specific request, as required by law. In addition, Interim Healthcare placed numerous advertisements that exclusively featured images of women, possibly discouraging male applicants from applying for the advertised positions.

Ultimately, the Attorney General’s investigation found that Interim Healthcare had inadequate safeguards in place to prevent or remedy unlawful employment discrimination based on the discriminatory requests of patients.

Under the agreement, Interim Healthcare agrees to:

  • Develop a Caregiver Placement Equal Employment Opportunity Policy prohibiting discriminatory conduct in processing patients’ requests for caregivers, hiring and advertising for employment in compliance with the law;
  • Designate the Vice President of Human Resources to oversee the processing of patients’ requests for caregivers, advertising and hiring process;
  • Conduct an Anti-Discrimination Training Program for all employees whose responsibilities involve patients’ requests for caregivers, recruitment, advertisement, and hiring;
  • Investigate all complaints, written or oral, alleging discriminatory treatment on the basis of race, national origin or gender and provide the Attorney General with reports describing all such complaints; and
  • Pay $100,000 in penalties, fees and costs in connection with the investigation.

"The contributions Haitian-Americans and their families have made to not only the healthcare profession but in all aspects of our society should be celebrated, not rejected, and this settlement sends a strong message of our commitment to protect the rights of all New Yorkers,” said State Senator David Carlucci. “This settlement could not have been secured without the work of Attorney General Schneiderman and the advocacy of many throughout our community who said that this type of discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated in Rockland County, or anywhere in New York.”

“I would like to thank the Attorney General for his swift investigation and response to the blatant discrimination that was unfortunately displayed here last year,” said Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski. “Not only a violation of the law, there is absolutely no place for employment discrimination, or any discrimination in New York State and I believe that this response makes that very clear. I am hopeful that this settlement agreement will provide appropriate oversight to ensure another incident never happens again, as well as reassure the Haitian community that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

“I want to thank the Attorney General for taking this blatantly discriminatory action committed by personnel at Interim HealthCare Inc. seriously,” said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. “Let it be known that any company or organization who singles out a group of individuals in a discriminatory advertisement because of its national origin is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The advertisement not only offended the Haitian and Haitian-American Community in New York State and throughout the country, but also members of the larger community regardless of their individual ethnic and cultural background. Federal and State laws prohibiting national origin discrimination make it illegal to discriminate because of an individual’s birthplace, ancestry, culture or language and those who violate this law will be held accountable.”

“I want to thank New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for investigating the blatant discrimination against Haitians in connection with the Interim Health, Inc. incident,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. “As a Haitian-American and as a New York State legislator, I am relieved that an agreement had been reached in this matter. This type of discrimination is damaging and I am glad that this case sets a precedent for those who continue to practice brash disdain towards any group of people. This sends a message to other businesses that discriminate in the State of New York, that prejudice will not be tolerated by our government."

"Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. All individuals, including Haitian-Americans, working in the Healthcare field should be recruited based on their skill set and not their ethnicity,” said Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages. “The sanctions placed against Interim Healthcare sends a clear message that citizens, lawmakers, and communities as a whole stand firmly against this type of behavior, which is unacceptable in any form. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s quick response to this issue proves that he is committed to combating discrimination in New York State.”

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Diane Lucas and Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Tochi Onyebuchi, under the direction of Executive Deputy for Social Justice Alvin Bragg. The Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General's Office is committed to combating employment discrimination across New York State. To file a complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov or visit http://www.ag.ny.gov/.