Doctor fired after asking co-worker if she wanted to 'get lynched'
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A doctor at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is out of a job after being accused of saying a racist comment toward a co-worker during a work event. That co-worker called it an "unforgivable mistake."
During a work seminar on June 12 for CHW employees, Siara Robinson said she was instructed to raise her hand as part of a team-building exercise.
"Before I could even raise my hand, the doctor said, 'what's the matter with you? Do you wanna get lynched?'" said Robinson.
Robinson said that doctor was Lori Wiorek. The 23-year-old hospital housekeeper, who didn't want to show her face on camera during our interview, said she told human resources how uncomfortable the word "lynched" made her feel as an African-American woman, coming from a white woman.
"It means to hang and kill African-Americans. I felt threatened," said Robinson.
In response, Robinson received a letter of apology from Wiorek, which says "there was no harmful, racial intent," rather it was meant as another way to say "gang up," calling the statement an "ignorant mistake," and acknowledging that "doesn't make it right."
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin officials released this statement to FOX6 News:
"Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin expects all of our employees to treat each other as well as our patients and their families with respect and dignity. Any violation of these expectations threatens our longstanding commitment to fostering an environment that is diverse and welcoming to everyone. We take seriously any allegation that a member of our community has failed to uphold our values and core commitment to an inclusive environment. As soon as we were made aware of these allegations, we immediately initiated our internal investigation and review process. The individual involved in this situation is no longer employed by Children’s Hospital."
While Robinson said she's relieved by the outcome, she said Wiorek and the hospital only parted ways this week once she asked the activist group the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee to protest on her behalf.
"It shouldn't take an army of us to have our voice heard, because if she's saying it to me, what else is she saying or doing to others like me?" said Robinson.
Robinson said she would also like counseling and an apology from Children's Hospital. The Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee are calling on the hospital to implement diversity training. Efforts to reach Dr. Wiorek were unsuccessful.