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Retaliatory discharge claimed by woman who reported abuse

Because of circumstances beyond their control, many families in West Virginia must send their loved ones to nursing homes and/or rehabilitation facilities. They do so with trust that the facility will provide the best possible care. Unfortunately, one out-of-state woman had concerns that the nursing home she worked for may have been negligent in its care of patients. When she reported her concerns to the proper governing agency, she claims she was fired. She has recently filed a lawsuit claiming retaliatory discharge.

Her lawsuit claims that she began submitting claims regarding the treatment of patients at Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after she became concerned about negligence and abuse. As a result, the administrator -- who has since resigned -- allegedly began retaliating against her. Although the plaintiff submitted a written complaint about the alleged retaliation to other officials, she claims no action was taken.

She then submitted additional complaints about alleged patient abuse -- specifically related to the death of two patients -- to the Illinois Department of Health. These complaints contained written reports with her signature. She was fired soon afterward when administrators discovered who had submitted the claims -- the lawsuit states that a copy of one of her submitted reports was attached to papers associated with her termination. The plaintiff claims that her termination was in violation of the state's Whistleblower and Adult Protective Services Act. A representative for the facility denies the allegations made in the lawsuit.

In addition to punitive damages, the plaintiff is seeking wages and other lost benefits resulting from the termination. Especially in a case where abuse of defenseless patients is suspected, it is important that witnesses can report the abuse without fear of retaliation. If a person in West Virginia is a victim of retaliatory discharge, a civil lawsuit is an option to pursue justice.

Source: bnd.com, "Whistleblower alleges wrongful termination by Cahokia nursing home", Jamie Forsythe, Aug. 5, 2015

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