Former employee says Res-Care wrongfully terminated her employment

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 8, 2012

WAYNE – A Mason County woman is suing Res-Care Health Services, Inc., for allegedly terminating her employment after she voiced her concern that certain privacy issues were being violated.

Res-Care Health Services, Inc. is doing business as Res-Care Health Services, Inc. of West Virginia.

Marjorie Carpenter was employed by Res-Care as a registered nurse from Jan. 3, 2003, as a registered nurse until 2008, and then as the director of nursing until her termination on Nov. 1, 2011, according to a complaint filed Oct. 17 in Wayne Circuit Court.

Carpenter claims beginning in January 2011, she began expressing concern to management regarding care issues, privacy rights of patients, violation of privacy rights of patients, illegal drug use by staff members caring for disabled individuals and possible abuse of clients by staff members.

On Aug. 8, 2011, two staff members, who happened to be staff who Carpenter had reported for privacy violations and illegal drug use, leveled harassment charges against her, according to the suit, and the allegations were investigated and Carpenter was advised that the charges were foolish and unfounded and were not substantiated.

Carpenter claims one of the staff members admitted to privacy violations and to providing money to staff members to purchase illegal drugs.

The West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification conducts surveys and audits of facilities and on Sept. 7, 2011, OFLAC was conducting a survey in the Kenova facility, according to the suit.

Carpenter claims she met with the surveyor and gave her truthful responses to her questions and when the surveyor asked her why the survey was so bad, she replied that no one would listen.

Two other OFLAC surveyors returned to the Kenova facility on Sept. 12, 2011, and issued deficiency citations and on Sept. 13, 2011, Carpenter provided a disc of information documenting privacy violations and illegal drug use to OFLAC, according to the suit.

Carpenter claims on Sept. 13, 2011, her supervisor advised her that in an April 15, 2011, resignation letter, an employee alleged that she had created a hostile work environment, however, prior to Sept. 13, 2011, Carpenter had never been advised of this allegation.

On Sept. 15, 2011, OFLAC surveyors were at the Kenova facility again and they requested that Carpenter meet with them, which she did, according to the suit, and the defendant was aware that she was meeting with the surveyors and providing them with truthful information.

Carpenter claims on Sept. 19, 2011, she was placed on an administrative leave of absence for allegedly creating a hostile environment even though she had never been interviewed or given an opportunity to respond to the allegations against her.

As a result of the information provided by Carpenter, the defendant’s executive director was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 21, 2011, pending an investigation, and he was later relieved of his employment after the investigation, according to the suit.

Carpenter claims Res-Care terminated her employment on Nov. 1, 2011, in retaliation for reporting the patient privacy violations and providing truthful information to OFLAC.

The defendant’s alleged actions violate West Virginia code, according to the suit.

Carpenter claims the defendant’s actions were negligent and caused her damages.

Res-Care’s actions were reckless, intentional and willful, according to the suit, and went beyond those of human decency and were contrary to what is accepted and allowed in society today.

Carpenter is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Amy C. Crossan.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James H. Young Jr.

Wayne Circuit Court case number: 12-C-241

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