Ga. Nurse Says Employer Fired Her Over COVID-19 Depart


Email Rosie Manins

“href =” “> Rosie Manins

Law360 provides free access to its coronavirus coverage to ensure that all members of the legal community have accurate information during this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for one of our weekly newsletters. If you sign up for one of our newsletters, you can sign up for the weekly coronavirus briefing.

Law360 (Apr 29, 2021, 5:09 p.m. EDT) – The former director of care at a Georgia health facility hit his owner Thursday with a federal lawsuit alleging she was wrongly dismissed on vacation when she suffered from COVID-19 was sick.

Melissa Francis, a Georgia-based person, said CorrectLife Bostick LLC fired her in early June after being hospitalized and quarantined at home for several weeks with the virus. She said the company initially claimed her termination was due to a patient injury that occurred during her medical vacation and then waved to say she was fired for poor performance.

Francis said CorrectLife had never expressed concern about her performance before, and the reasons given for her termination were an excuse for retaliation in exercising her rights under the Family and Sick Leave Act. She said she had worked as the nursing director at the company’s facility in Milledgeville, Georgia, since January 2018.

“The defendant alleged that the patient was injured [were] This would likely lead to litigation against the defendant, and that plaintiff was responsible for ensuring that the nursing staff would have been supervised in the absence of her absence from medical leave, “Francis said in her complaint. The defendant then changed its reason for terminating the plaintiff on the following day, citing the performance expenses from December 2019. “

Francis said she saw a doctor and was tested for COVID-19 in mid-April 2020. A few days later, she learned that she was infected with the virus. She said she immediately informed CorrectLife that she was under a doctor’s order to be quarantined for two weeks.

Around April 19, 2020, Francis was hospitalized and diagnosed with breathing problems and pneumonia according to her complaint. She said she was sent home on April 28, 2020, instructed to rest in bed for two weeks.

Francis said she received a text message from CorrectLife’s HR department in late May advising her that her paid time off was exhausted. She said a doctor gave her permission to return to work on June 8th.

A few days later, Francis received a call from Aaron Minniefield, CEO of CorrectLife, who, according to the complaint, said that her employment relationship was terminated with immediate effect.

“Minniefield advised the plaintiff that the defendant was facing a lawsuit for injuries to a patient while the plaintiff was on medical leave,” Francis said. “He went on to state that if the plaintiff had been on duty on the date and time in question, the plaintiff’s caregivers would have been adequately supervised and the defendant would not have faced the costs and expenses associated with the patient’s injuries. “

Francis said the next day that she took her personal belongings from the facility and spoke to staff members as well as Minniefield. He allegedly told her at the time that she was not fired for poor performance, but subsequently gave her the option to resign or be fired for underperformance.

When she refused to resign, Francis said Minniefield gave her a written reprimand referring to oral counseling on three separate occasions, non-compliance with policies and procedures, and poor performance. She said this was the first time these issues had been raised with her.

Francis claims CorrectLife violated her rights under the FMLA to take vacation without informing her of her eligibility for leave because of a serious health condition and also fought against her for exercising her rights.

She wants unspecified compensation for loss of income, health insurance and unemployment benefits, as well as front pay or getting her job back to work. She also claims unspecified damage for mental and emotional suffering, as well as attorney fees and costs.

Anthony Dawkins of Morgan & Morgan Atlanta PLLC, who represented Francis, told Law360 that she had been a nurse for more than 20 years and worked for CorrectLife at the Bostick Nursing Center – an assisted living facility for former inmates.

Dawkins said the company refused to hold pre-trial talks. He said he had not seen any lawsuits against CorrectLife for the patient injury identified in Francis’ complaint, and that if a case were filed, it was unlikely that a case would be filed.

“She was not at work at the time and was unrelated to the event,” he said.

CorrectLife did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Francis is represented by Anthony Dawkins of Morgan & Morgan Atlanta PLLC.

Advisory information for CorrectLife was not immediately available.

The case is Francis v CorrectLife Bostick LLC, Case Number 5: 21-cv-00149, in the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

– Editing by Emily Kokoll.

To have this article reprinted, please contact [email protected].

Comments are closed.