Racial Bias Suit Filed Against Hospital

A woman who was fired from her job as a ward clerk at the Ventura County Medical Center filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the hospital and the county, contending she was wrongly discharged from her job and was a victim of racial discrimination.

Laurie Norris said in the lawsuit that she was hired as a clerk at the hospital in February, 1989. Although she performed her job at a superior level, she said, she was fired without cause in October, 1992.

Norris said she worked under an "implied-in-fact" employment contract, which her suit said guaranteed her employment as long as she carried out her duties properly and competently.

Norris, who is black, also said in the suit that the contract guaranteed she would work in an environment free of racial discrimination and harassment.

She said the medical center breached the conditions of the contract by subjecting her to "a work environment permeated with racial discrimination" and by retaliating against her for complaining about the discrimination, among other things.

The lawsuit says Norris has suffered losses in earnings and embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish.

Neither Norris nor administrators from the medical center could be reached for comment.

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