Black diversity specialist fired from Texas hospital for being “too sensitive to race issues”


Joseph B. Hill was fired by Memorial Hermann Health System four days before assuming his new role as vice president, responsible for equity, diversity and inclusion.

A hospital in Houston, Texas fired its new vice president, responsible for equity, diversity and inclusion four days before his first day on the job – for being “too sensitive” to race issues , according to documents obtained by NBC News.

Joseph B. Hill, who is black, received a two-sentence email revoking his offer for the vacant position at Memorial Hermann Health System in July despite more than a dozen interviews in six weeks.

“We regret to inform you that we are canceling the job offer dated July 21, 2021”, can we read in the email obtained by NBC News, sent to Hill by Memorial Hermann’s VP of Human Resources Lori Knowles. “We appreciate your interest in the position and wish you the best for the future.”

Joseph B. Hill (Photo credit: Hill / LinkedIn)

“It was a shock to say the least,” Hill said. NBC News. “I was devastated.”

Hill was informed two weeks later by his lawyer, Mark J. Oberti, that Memorial Hermann reversed its decision. The hospital concluded that he “was not a good fit” for the company, in part because he was “too sensitive to race issues.”

Other reasons for the short-term layoff included Hill’s questions about getting a bigger relocation budget and hiring staff for his team, as well as his decision to hire a luxury car and move on. bill it to the company, reported NBC News.

“The reasons they listed were just as shocking as the offer’s cancellation,” Hill said. NBC News, adding that the claims were “false and absurd” and “they did not even contact me to discuss their so-called problems”.

Entering the role with Memorial Hermann, Hill had accumulated over 20 years of experience in the DCI field, spending years with the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. before starting his own DEI consulting company, JBrady5, in 2018.

Hermann Memorial

Hermann Memorial (Photo credit: Facebook)

Refusing to comment on the decision, executives at Memorial Hermann released a statement to NBC News who said, “We continue to make great strides in improving equity, diversity and inclusion within our system, but we know there is always more to do, which is why we are hiring a Director EDI.

Superficial commitment to anti-racist reform is not uncommon among institutions, according to Chris Metzler, creator of several highly regarded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI) certification programs during his tenure as Associate Dean of Georgetown University for Human Resources and Diversity Studies.

“Many organizations are not interested in real change,” Metzler said NBC News. “They see diversity as a numbers game. “

Metzler, president and CEO of a global consulting firm FHW and Associates, added, “Many executives ask me privately, ‘How many blacks do I have?’ “

Through NBC News, the murder of George floyd and others in 2020 have sparked an upward trend in DCI staff being hired to address power imbalances in the workplace.

However, a recent report Conference Board’s analysis of diversity in more than 2,800 U.S. workplaces says few of those employees were black – DCI’s percentage of black directors only increased 0.2 percent from 2020 to 2021.

Fred hobby, former president of the Institute for Diversity and Health at the American Hospital Association, who has known Hill for years, said NBC News: “This is a case study of an organization needing what Joseph Hill provided them, but not accepting it. “

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