Woman accuses Healthsouth Corporation of age discrimination

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 12, 2015

MORGANTOWN – A Masontown woman is suing Healthsouth Corporation after she claims it discriminated against her based on her age.

Bonnie Shaffer was employed by Healthsouth from September 1992 until Dec. 7, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Shaffer claims she had a good record of service and was well respected and had a series of medical issues, which caused her to miss work.

In 2014, Shaffer began experiencing on the job harassment from her managers and she would joke about wanting to quit, but she could not afford to, according to the suit.

Shaffer claims she got into a verbal disagreement with Erica Smith, a younger supervisor, about special treatment being requested by her for a patient who was believed to be the grandfather of Occupational Therapist Tech Manager Robin Butler's son's fiance.

The plaintiff reported to the company that there was false billing to insurance companies by some of the therapists for work which they did not do, according to the suit.

Shaffer claims on Dec. 7, management was asking employees to take voluntary, unpaid time off to reduce payroll cost due to a reduced census of patients and she was asked by Smith to take this time off, which she agreed to do.

The plaintiff, as a joke, said to Smith, "would you like my resignation as well?" and Smith said "yes" in a joking way, as they were in the habit of joking around, according to the suit.

Shaffer claims she wrote out a resignation letter and handed it to Smith as a joke and went home. She later called Smith to ask her to destroy the joke resignation letter, but was informed she was too late and the resignation already was being processed.

The plaintiff then went back and spoke directly to Butler, who also told her that she was sorry, but her resignation was accepted and that she needed to retire, according to the suit.

Shaffer claims she was replaced by a younger worker, believed to be in his 20s.

Healthsouth discriminated against Shaffer based on her age and wrongfully discharged her from her employment, according to the suit

Shaffer is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Edward R. Kohout.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 15-C-417

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