MORGANTOWN – Another harassment lawsuit has been filed against Monongalia County General Hospital by a former employee.
Ruth Freeland was employed by the hospital as a nutrition aide and cook in the Nutritional Service Department from 1997 until 2014, according to a complaint filed June 5 in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Freeland claims she had stomach surgery at the hospital and, later, a corrective surgery to fix mistakes from the first one and was in the hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit, for 46 days.
The plaintiff was informed that if she did not return to work, her job would be posted and she reluctantly returned with a feeding tube and a drain pouch, according to the suit.
Freeland claims her supervisors told her that she needed to go on disability and "basically indicated to her that they wanted her to quit her job."
After returning to work, her supervisors, known in the complaint as Mark and Leah, began harassing her in an effort to get her to quit, including writing her up when she would go to the bathroom to vomit from her illness and writing her up for sucking on ice cubes to calm her sick stomach, which they thought was her eating on the job.
Freeland was also overworked and she was at one time forced to do work for four people, all of which was very stressful for her.
Her sick days were used up so Freeland was absent from work due to her illness and she was also written up for these absences, as her bosses did not allow her to be sick, according to the suit.
Freeland claims Mark and Leah constantly insulted her with comments like "we need to get a younger person" and told her that she "moved too slow."
On April 1, 2014, Freeland finally resigned from her employment, as her supervisors basically forced her to quit her job, according to the suit.
Freeland claims she was discriminated against because of her age and her disability, which violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
Freeland is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Edward R. Kohout.
In May, another hospital employee sued the hospital after she was harassed by her supervisor, according to the suit.
Regan M. Kirchner was employed by the hospital as an aide from 2006 until 2011, where she reported acts of sexual harassment that she witnessed, and was then harassed for reporting the incidents.
Kirchner is also represented by Kohout.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 15-C-359