California hospital probes racist effigy

POSTED: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 5:04pm

A California hospital is investigating what appears to be a racist display directed at several African-American employees who work in the hospital’s IT Department.

Staffers at Kaiser Hospital Riverside said they work in an area that is restricted to employees. When Xavier Fields arrived for work he was shocked to find a doll with a racial slur across its chest hanging from a post near his work station.

"It's somebody who works within. It's a locked area. You don't go back there," Fields said.

The doll had its face painted black and was dangling from a rope around its neck.

"You're not sure what to think. I got a supervisor and I let them know what's going on," said colleague Tyree Hale.

The employees said they did not see signs that their complaint launched an immediate investigation. They gave the doll to a manager and said they were so stunned - even scared -they didn't file a police report, but left it to the hospital to handle.

Kaiser issued a statement which read: "We are moving to investigate the matter and will take appropriate action. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination in our workplace and will take all appropriate measures to address the full scope of this situation."

Still, the workers say they're not wholly confident in the investigation.

"I'm not for sure," said Hale. "I went to the boss and let them know what was going on."

Hale said he believes the doll was aimed at him since he is the first of his co-workers to arrive at work in the morning.

Asked why he didn't file a police report, he said, "Sometimes we just shine it off because we're just trying to stay working and pay our bills."  

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