Hospital workers file lawsuit, found noose on locker

July 17, 2013 3:18:44 PM PDT
Two African American orderlies at North Shore University Hospital say they were victims of repeated racist harassment.

They say it included a noose left on a locker.

When worker Elijah Crawford snapped a picture of a locker of one of his superiors, he knew he had had enough.

"It's ridiculous that we as workers in an institution like this should have to go through this," said Elijah Crawford, nurse assistant.

Crawford has been working as a nurse assistant at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset for 16 years.

He says throughout that time he and another African American worker endured racial slurs from two of their superiors, surgical technician Mario Nistico and the director of anesthesia, Dr. Charles Militana.

"At one point, they hired a new nurse or something like that who happened to be Caucasian and they said to each other, 'It's about time we had more whites in here,'" Crawford said.

About a year ago, just after this incident, Crawford and the other worker sought out attorney Derek Smith and have now filed a discrimination suit in federal court.

Crawford says when he tried to speak with directors at the hospital about the noose incident, "They said, 'We understand you should be upset, but let it go,'" Crawford said.

Eyewitness News tried to speak with Dr. Militana at his home in Manhasset but a woman slammed the door on Eyewitness News.

A spokesman for North Shore LIJ told Eyewitness News they can't discuss the case because it's part of ongoing litigation. They did release a statement saying, "The North Shore LIJ health system has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment in our workforce."