MARTINSBURG – Facing a summary judgment motion that questioned her work performance, a woman who sued Jefferson Memorial Hospital for wrongful termination has settled her lawsuit.

Helen Tobin filed a pro se complaint on June 5 against the hospital, alleging that she was set up to be fired after making complaints that coworkers were making racial comments towards her. On May 17, U.S. District Judge Gina Groh entered an order dismissing the case as settled. Terms were not disclosed.

Eleven days earlier, Harpers Ferry attorney Steven Brett Offutt had been entered as Tobin’s attorney. Tobin had previously asked Groh to appoint her an attorney, but Groh refused.

Tobin’s complaint alleged her coworkers called her a “little Spanish girl,” told her they didn’t have to listen to her and that she was from a third-world country.

“I reported these matters to my supervisor and nothing was done,” the complaint said. “I went to Human Resources and reported what was going on about how I was being treated and again nothing was done.

“Then I noticed that I was getting written up for not cleaning the rooms the right way. They were finding paper on the floor or napkins after I cleaned the room. I was clearly being set up to get fired.”

Tobin began work at the hospital on Nov. 3, 2010. She was fired May 9, 2011.

She claims a coworker also called her a “no-good Spanish bitch” and nothing was done. The next day, she was told by a supervisor that her job performance was not good enough and she was fired.

However, a motion for summary judgment filed on March 27 said Tobin received four notices of poor performance during her six months at the hospital.

Human Resources Manager Cecilia E. Kusnirak conducted an investigation into the allegations of racism, the motion says.

“During the investigation, it was revealed that Plaintiff often acted toward coworkers in a bossy manner and made disparaging remarks about fellow coworkers – both Caucasian and African-American,” the motion says.

“Plaintiff was terminated from employment as a result of not cleaning rooms properly on April 30, 2011. The Caucasian employee with whom she was working that evening also was disciplined over the incident.”

The West Virginia Human Rights Commission, in response to a complaint filed by Tobin, found on Sept. 22, 2011, that there was no probable cause to believe Jefferson Memorial violated the Human Rights Act.

Elizabeth D. Walker, an attorney with West Virginia University Healthcare, represented the hospital.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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