After spending two years on the brink of shutting down, Parkland Hospital has turned a corner. Things are far from perfect, but the federal government is reasonably confidant that Parkland won't kill you.
That's the medical side of things. According to a trio of nearly identical wrongful termination lawsuits filed on Monday, the IT department remains a mess.
Mark Holloway, an African American network engineer, and Israel Benitez, a Hispanic webmaster, both say they were discriminated against based on their ethnicity.
Holloway's claim says that in 2008, after two decades with Parkland, he was reclassified as a contract employee. Though multiple white colleagues were ultimately re-employed by Parkland, thus giving them access to promotions and pay raises, Hollloway was not.
Benitez says he was unfairly denied a promotion to a group-leader position in February 2012.
Both men filed complaints with supervisors. Holloway was fired in August, Benitez in July. Brandon Abbott, an IT employee who worked under Benitez (the suit does not mention his race), filed the third suit alleging that he was also fired for reporting the discrimination he witnessed.
The fired workers say such treatment was par for the course in Parkland's IT department, which they say was run by a cabal of white senior managers who referred to themselves the "Redneck Country Club" while placing minority employees on "Team Brown."
Among the other phrases that were tossed about: "coconuts," "spics," and "fucking brown people," in reference to Hispanics; "queen bitch," "fucking cunt," "bitches," and "God-damned women" in reference to female employees; "terroristic" to non-Americans; and "brown baby factory" in reference to Parkland.
The suit says that one senior manager was fired in January 2013, and later reinstated, for referring to President Barack Obama as a "fucking nigger."
We've asked Parkland for a response to the allegations as well as for documents related to that senior manager's termination and an investigation the suit says was conducted by Parkland's police force in December 2012.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.