Woman accuses nursing home of retaliatory discharge

By Annie Cosby | Jan 19, 2015

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman is suing over claims she was discharged after sustaining an injury at work.

Edna Morris filed a lawsuit Nov. 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Sweetbriar Home Care Services Inc., C.W. Caldwell Inc., and John Doe Corporation, all doing business as SweetBriar Assisted Living, citing retaliatory discharge.

According to the complaint, Morris was working as a certified nursing assistant at the defendants' facility in Dunbar on Nov. 25, 2012, when she slipped on the wet floor of the kitchenette where she was preparing snacks for the patrons. Morris says she hit her head on a refrigerator and counter top and lost consciousness, but when a housekeeper helped her report the incident at the nurse's station, they refused to call an ambulance until an administrator could be informed.

The lawsuit states Morris threw up but she was required to undergo a drug test and not permitted to leave the premises until an administrator could get there, nearly two hours later. The complaint states Morris was released to return to work Nov. 27, 2012, but that day she was ordered to clock out and go home.

Morris says that due to continuing effects of the injury, she was again restricted from work until Dec. 7, 2012, but when she called her supervisor to discuss her return to work, all her calls were ignored. According to the lawsuit, her last paycheck was for the period ending Dec. 2, 2012, making her effective termination the following day. The defendants are accused of wrongful termination and retaliatory discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violating the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Morris seeks punitive damages, lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, back pay, front pay, interest and attorney fees. She is represented by attorneys Robert H. Miller II and Shawn R. Romano of Romano and Associates in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-2008

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