Woman says she was wrongly fired from Wheeling Hospital

By Kelly Holleran | Sep 19, 2008

WHEELING -- An Ohio County resident has filed suit against Wheeling Hospital, alleging she was fired due to age and racial discrimination, as well as for her refusal to work overtime.

Alice Alexander claims she had worked at the Bishop Hodges Continuous Care Center from 1998 until she was fired Sept. 11, 2006, according to a complaint filed in Ohio Circuit Court.

Alexander had a number of conflicts and confrontations with various nursing supervisors, including one argument on Sept. 7, 2006, the suit states.

"On that date, Alice Alexander had a discussion with her charge nurse regarding the appropriate number of proposed nursing and nurse's aide staff for an upcoming shift," the suit states.

Alexander was told the nurse was upset with the conversation, but Alexander decided not to work overtime that day, according to the complaint.

Alexander claims the center's administrator contacted her the following day, Sept. 8, and informed her of complaints about her patient care the day before.

She was fired Sept. 11 after a meeting with the administrator, according to the complaint.

After her termination, Alexander discovered she had been reported to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for "purportedly verbally abusing a patient/resident of BHCCC," the suit states.

Alexander claims she met with a state investigator in November 2006. During the meeting, she claims it became clear to her that she had not been fired for the alleged patient abuse.

"The allegations of verbal abuse were inconsistent within themselves, and remarkably the patient/resident who was the supposed victim of the verbal abuse denied any such abuse to the state investigator," the suit states.

The only witnesses of the alleged verbal abuse were the same people who Alexander had conflicts with on the same day, according to the complaint.

Alexander, a 49-year-old African American, claims her termination resulted in whole or part from racial and age discrimination.

She also claims she was fired because she exercised her right to refuse to work overtime and her right to solicit an opinion and defend herself against inaccurate or untrue attacks by management.

Alexander has suffered annoyance, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment and loss of personal dignity, the suit states.

She has also incurred lost wages, a diminished earning capacity, the possible permanent loss of her Nurse's Aide license and a loss of enjoyment of life, according to the complaint.

Alexander is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, pre-judgment interests and attorney's fees.

Nicholas A. Wininsky of Wininsky Law Offices in Pittsburgh is representing Alexander.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 08-C-356

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