Nurse wins $3.83M racial discrimination lawsuit against Hawaii hospital

A jury awarded Ellen Harris, RN, $3.83 million in damages Feb. 28, concluding a five-year legal battle between Ms. Harris and Honolulu-based The Queen's Medical Center, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Here are four things to know about the case.

1. Ms. Harris worked in the hospital's medical intensive care unit from 2006 to 2011, Khon 2 News reports. In 2011, she reported her concerns to management that a fellow nurse at the hospital had jeopardized patient safety on several occasions and that the unidentified individual was also reportedly stealing narcotics intended for patients, according to the lawsuit.

2. Ms. Harris claimed she encountered harassment, bullying and unfair treatment from several coworkers. However, after reporting her patient safety concerns to management, Ms. Harris claimed in the 2013 lawsuit the harassment intensified, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. At one point, she reportedly found a racist note in her mailbox, and several months later, she came to work and discovered an image of a noose taped to her locker.

3. A 12-person jury unanimously sided with Ms. Harris Feb. 28, awarding her $630,000 in general damages and $3.2 million in punitive damages.

4. A spokesperson for The Queen's Medical Center told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a statement Feb. 28 the hospital was "very disappointed in [the] verdict and will [file] an appeal. Because this is pending litigation, we will not comment further."

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