Rebecca McCarthy, a former executive for CareOne nursing home chain, is slated to receive more than $6 million because a jury agreed with her claim that she was fired because of her race. After a trial before Judge John O’Dwyer, a jury ruled in her favor and awarded her $4.1 million in punitive damages, more than $1.8 million for past and future lost wages, and $5,000 for mental anguish, according to documents posted by the New Jersey Law Journal. Care One discriminated against her African American identity when a senior vice president tried to demote her and later fired her from her position at a senior rehabilitation center in Bound Brook.
A few months later, an executive who had just taken over as administrator of the Bound Brook facility asked McCarthy to return to her former role.
“I don’t want a black person walking around here in a suit as VP,” the executive, Alison Fitzpatrick-Durski, told McCarthy, according to her suit. “I want you in scrubs, flats and a lab coat.”
Defendant argued that “Ms. Fitzpatrick-Durski was previously married to an African American man and is the mother of three (3) children who partake of African American heritage,” the motion reads.
McCarthy was fired the following day and replaced by a white woman, according to her civil complaint filed in Superior Court in Bergen County. (Care One is based in Fort Lee.)
This is not the first time the company has gone to court over its treatment of employees. In 2016, a federal appeals court ruled the company violated fair labor practices when nonprofessional workers at its Morristown facility were trying to organize a union.
“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge played in the background as the pictures rolled.
Using those photos, without employees’ permission, to imply those smiles conveyed support of the company’s anti-union stance was ruled an unfair labor practice.