Is this discrimination?

  1. Hello haven't posted in a while. quick background before the meat. So I work at a fairly large health system, they currently own 95% market share so options here are not many. If you look at the pictures of the board of directors, they are all white. All my charge rn, the dept director, and her four clinical supervisors are all white. I happen to not be white, and I am bilingual. I have heard comments from physicians like: "they get off the plane and want us to fix all their problems". "That pt doesn't pass the smell test, hispanics are too emotional." The second comment was about my pt who came in with acute head pain worst of her life. History of Htn among other things and geriatric. I wanted to get her cleared for a stroke...the md never even came to the room. Waited and hour. Cat wouldn't take her stat cause it wasn't ordered stat. Well I gave report went home. Next day was told she ended up having a bleed. Now md won't even make eye contact with me. So I'm asked to translate all the time and now I'm told by triage and the charge and the clinical sups that I get certain PTs cause they only speak Spanish. My one year review is coming and I'm thinking of asking for a nice raise because speaking Spanish and translating are not in the job description...I checked. If they don't give it to me is it discrimination? Should I keep my minority mouth shut and just be happy I'm getting a paycheck? I was born in the USA. Technically I'm not a minority...right?
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    About eacue10

    Joined: Dec '16; Posts: 5; Likes: 8

    100 Comments

  3. by   MrNurse(x2)
    You can always ask about the raise, the worst they can say is no. You are only a minority if that is what you feel. I am sorry that you work in such a hostile environment.
  4. by   Spadeforce
    you have to have a good reason to be able to say its due to being a minority. Do you live in an area that is mostly white? I feel for you having to deal with people that may not be nice to those who are not white but when you start with "the board of directors is all white" I feel like you are fishing for empathy for not being white.....
  5. by   Cowboyardee
    Would not getting a raise upon asking be evidence of discrimination that you could use in a lawsuit?
    - Im no lawyer, but I doubt it.

    Should you ask for a raise?
    - possibly. Depends on whether you think it will be held against you and how much leverage you have. A competing job offer is usually the best leverage. That said, many hospitals just pay their RNs based on a scale and don't negotiate as a matter of policy, so be aware of that possibility.

    Is your work environment fundamentally discriminatory?
    - I'm not there to see first hand, but it sounds like it, yeah. Whether its best for you to fight it or just get out while the getting is good depends on your life circumstances and how many allies you think you might have who are also fed up with that BS.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Cowboyardee on Sep 28
  6. by   Flatline
    Do you know what the racial or ethnic affiliation of your leadership is? Skin color, while indicative, is not definitive. I would also ask what the public demographics mix? Just because a group is all a particular race or ethnicity is not evidence of discrimination.

    Did they get off of a plane? Medical tourism is real and I worked in a facility where this was sometimes a literal comment, as in transport would wait at the terminal. If it is factual then there is no harm and the statement itself is not discriminatory in itself.

    Ascribing negative traits to a particular race or ethnicity like Hispanic can be seen as racism in certain context but as a medical professional you know that there are real medical and biological differences between races and ethnicity. Genetics and culture play a significant role in out patient's health and we must acknowledge those difference. Arbitrarily assigning negative untrue attributes is definitely unethical however.

    Being bilingual generally is not grounds for a raise or promotion unless being bilingual is acknowledged as a formal positive contribution. The fact that it is not in your job description can actually be a negative for you. Most places I worked actually forbade interpretation by bilingual employees unless they underwent training, testing, and obtained a certification in that language. Misinterpretation was a real problem and if the patient needed a translator then it was generally best to use a formal certified translator than use someone who spoke that language informally.

    Just because you were born in the United States and associate yourself with the USA does not preclude you from being a minority if you otherwise meet that definition. Things like sex, race, ethnicity, and even age can place you into certain minority segments.

    Sounds like you are feeling disenfranchised and upset with the workplace culture. I would highly recommend that you speak to someone about your feelings so that you can discuss your concerns.
  7. by   brownbook
    Your situation stinks. Some hospitals do pay extra, (not a lot but at least it's something), for bilingual employees.

    I don't know if Trump has deleted this, but the ACA act mandated that hospitals......must offer "qualified interpreters" to limited English proficient patients.

    You could politely go to your boss and say you can not be expected to always be available to translate unless you are compensated. Don't bring up discrimination.

    Your nursing skills and being bilingual are huge assets. Start looking for another job where you will be appreciated.
  8. by   elkpark
    Hmmm, when I first started reading the initial post, I was expecting the question about "discrimination" to be concern about people of other ethnicities receiving substandard care. Then, suddenly, at the end, it turns out it's about whether or not the OP gets a "nice" raise. I think you're going to have a hard time arguing that the reason you didn't get a raise was "discrimination," unless lots of other people of other ethnicities do get raises and you don't.
  9. by   eacue10
    I'm replying here as best I can to all the replies and thank you all for your thoughts. Do the minority patients receive standard care? I can only speak to the comments I've heard but have never actually it seen it take place but I can tell you I wouldn't bring any of my families here. In regards to the plane comment. They aren't travel medical. The comment was in reference to the immigrants coming to the USA. AND YEA UR DAM RIGHT I WANT A RAISE. I got hired to be a rn not a translator.
  10. by   KelRN215
    If they don't give you a raise for being bilingual is it discrimination? No, because being bilingual is most likely not a criteria they use to determine raises. You should decline to interpret as you are a nurse not an interpreter. The hospital must have access to interpreters if not in person then through a phone line or iPad app.

    I speak fairly fluent Spanish (though I'm not Hispanic) and have never been compensated in any way for it. I still use interpreters for teaching or any conversations where there's a possibility for confusion and I will not interpreter for colleagues. We have a language line for that. I occasionally would help colleagues on the night shift when I worked in the hospital if they just needed to ask simple questions or tell a Mom where the bathroom or kitchen was but I really tried to prevent too many people from knowing I spoke Spanish because it would lead to inappropriate requests, like an interventional radiologist asking me to interpret for consent for an angiogram once when I was a student. I do speak Spanish to my patient's Spanish speaking father when I'm in his home.
  11. by   Triddin
    I'd argue part of being an RN is communicating with patients so being a translator is part of being an RN. Also different RNs have different strengths. Coworkers who are better at inserting IVs don't demand extra pay for helping others. Part of being a team.

    I'm not saying don't ask for a raise, just don't expect being able to translate to be a deciding factor.
  12. by   cleback
    There is a process to become a medical interpreter, which I'm guessing you haven't done. So I don't know if what they're expecting of you is legal. If illegal, you can't really use it for justifying a raise.

    What they say about minorities is just all around despicable. Sorry you work with them. Not sure if you want to document it and pursue a claim of hostile environment legally. It would likely effect your employment with that organization.
  13. by   eacue10
    Well I've pretty much decided I'm going to keep my mouth shut about all the racist comments I hear all the time. The two I posted were just two. The next nearest hospital system is about an hour drive and I have a family and a mortgage so I will make sure my patients get the right care the rest is someone else's problem. In terms of the raise yea I can ask they willl say no and we will go from there if I want to pursue it more. And for the person that posted about communication. Yes it is our job to communicate but it's not a rn job to be bilingual. If that was the case we wouldn't have many nurses.

    The most disheartening thing I hear is when people say your in America learn English. That has to be the most ignorant comment I've ever heard. I guess racism is alive and well.
  14. by   applewhitern
    One patient who had a bleed and a few off-hand remarks is not enough to claim discrimination, in my opinion. If doesn't sound like YOU are being discriminated against. I, along with others, speak Spanish and do not get compensated for it. To me, its just part of my job. We do have an interpreter who gets paid to be on-call, but this person does nothing else but interpret for us on the rare occasions we need him. He is not a healthcare worker.

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