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Lawsuit alleges racial discrimination at Advocate Christ hospital

Accusations of racism at Advocate Christ Medical Center are being leveled in a federal lawsuit filed against the hospital.

Five people who either were laid off or still worked at Advocate Christ filed suit Friday in U.S. District Court against the hospital, 4440 W. 95th St., alleging what they called a “pattern of racial discrimination towards [them] and other African Americans.”

“They experienced a hostile work environment based on their race,” said Jeffrey Friedman, attorney for the plaintiffs.

One allegation in the suit is that the employees heard what they called derogatory racial comments, including that “African Americans cleaned like monkeys,” the lawsuit states.

Three of the five also alleged they were fired from their janitorial jobs for reasons that were not applied to non-black employees. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged they were denied promotions, were assigned less desirable or more strenuous work duties and were monitored or scrutinized while performing their job in a manner that wasn’t done with other employees.

Warren Johnson, the lead plaintiff, says he was one of the people who was denied a promotion and then fired from his job as an “environmental technician” in July 2014, with no explanation given.

“The treatment I received at Advocate made me feel less than a person,” said Johnson, 30, from Evergreen Park.

The hospital issued a statement: “We take this matter very seriously. However, because this involves pending litigation, we are unable to provide a comment at this time.”