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I worked at a hospital for over 25 years as an RT. My son, an RN, was hired there in 2011. He was well-liked by all of his patients and several co-workers. The VP of nursing loved Jason and wanted to transition him to the ICU. Before this could happen, he had to work in a step-down unit.

His new boss disliked Cape Verdeans — men in particular. She was once married to a Cape Verdean. Abused by her ex, she always made bad comments about Cape Verdean patients.

I had reported her years ago and was warned if I wanted to keep my job to shut up. So for years, she got away with treating patients poorly. When Jason met his new boss, he expressed to me that he felt she didn’t like him. He knew nothing of the history. I told him “just do your job and let it go.”

Clearly, doing your job well doesn’t relinquish the grip of a bully. It only tightens it.

After months of targeting my son, I reported her. She came to the ICU and told me “I’m going to cut your son’s balls off!” Once again, I told the VP of nursing. She responded “That’s not right. I never agreed with how this manager managed, but my hands are tied. Tell Jason to overlook it — or there will be trouble.”

My son was the target of extreme bullying by his boss. Despite knowing it takes so much to prove discrimination, even as discriminatory remarks were being made in reference to my son and Cape Verdean patients, we filed with the EEOC so that at least there would be a record.

The final letter I received reflected extreme falsification of facts. The EEOC attorney expressed in a lengthy call that he felt we were decent people who were wronged, but discrimination is difficult to prove no matter how hard he tried to make it stick. He then urged me to seek an attorney, as what took place at the hospital was wrong but just too personal for the EEOC to handle.

The EEOC tried, as well as an individual in HR, but where there is no law against this type of abuse, there is no accountability.

The abuser is allowed to continue his or her path of destruction, removing good people from doing a good job.

Once my son was reduced, tormented, and finally terminated, I became her next target. Upon my getting pricked with a dirty needle from an IV bag someone placed in my respiratory bag on her unit, I finally realized I needed to seek outside medical help. My doctor placed me on an FMLA. I was forced to see a psychiatrist per the hospital’s request, as I put in for workman’s comp. This psychiatrist bullied me.

Upon my return, I became my new boss’ target while caring for patients. After being tormented and interrogated on several occasions by my new boss, I finally ended up in the ER with high blood pressure and a suspected clot.

My son finally had an emotional breakdown. He lost everything.

Finally, on June 7, 2018, my son took his life.

If your caregiver becomes a target, patient care is compromised.

Businesses, especially hospitals whose mission is to do no harm, need to be accountable.

We need to put an end to this toxic abuse.


Photo by Pixabay

We believe America’s workers have a right to safe workplaces where their psychological health is recognized as a vital component of overall well-being. All people — regardless of their gender, race, color, national origin, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, size, income, faith, religion, and political affiliation — deserve to lead healthy and productive lives and to work in safe environments free from workplace abuse, workplace bullying, workplace mobbing, and oppression.

We are part of End Workplace Abuse, which strives to protect and promote workers’ right to psychological wellness – critical to physical health, by advocating for the elimination of abusive behaviors (bullying, mobbing, and harassment) from the American workplace. We achieve our mission by organizing and leading a collective movement advocating for psychological safety at work. We lobby for protective legislation and policies, raise public awareness about psychological harm at work, build leaders who campaign for abuse-free workplaces, and collaborate with other organizations advancing workers’ rights. Because bias and prejudice are often an integral part of workplace abuse, we advocate for protections against discrimination.

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