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Suit: Advocate Christ Medical Center discriminated against black workers

Two ID cards man named Maurice Walker an African-American security guard Advocate Christ Medical Center who was allegedly given these

Two ID cards of a man named Maurice Walker, an African-American security guard at Advocate Christ Medical Center, who was allegedly given these by a supervisor.

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Updated: August 6, 2013 6:44PM

A security worker and a former one filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging various forms of racism to African-American employees at the public safety department of Advocate Christ Medical Center.

The lawsuit claims that Maurice Walker, an African-American security guard at the hospital, was taunted and degraded throughout his five years at the hospital with overtly racist jokes. The most egregious example of that, according to the lawsuit, was that one of the supervisors created an identification card with a photograph of the African-American character “Jimmie Walker” from the television show Good Times and put the plaintiff’s name on it. A second ID card was created that allegedly took Walker’s photograph but added dark lips and dreadlocks.

One of the supervisors at the Advocate Christ’s public safety department also allegedly committed illegal criminal background checks on the African American employees. And when no criminal background was found on Walker, he was allegedly told that he couldn’t be from his neighborhood, Englewood, because he didn’t have a record.

Sgt. Walter Bergstrom also is listed as a plaintiff to the lawsuit, citing his was terminated in May after he tried to intervene on the alleged improper behavior. Bergstrom, who is white, had allegedly reported to the hospital that one of the supervisors in the public safety department was conducting illegal criminal background checks on the African American employees. Then when he reported the criminal misconduct to the Chicago Ridge Police Department after no action was taken by the hospital, he was terminated in May, the lawsuit says.

In a statement, an official at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn said the health facility considers the suit to be a serious matter, but could not comment because Advocate had not yet received the complaint.

Walker still works at the hospital, his attorney Christopher R. Smith said.

In addition to the hospital, the lawsuit also names four other employees of the public safety department at Advocate Christ for “working in concert to create a racially hostile environment whereby all employees are terrified to speak out about the injustices that they encounter on a daily basis.”

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