3 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) have sued Carrington Place of Chesapeake, a Virginia nursing facility, for firing them after they reported abuse being committed by nurses during an overnight shift.
On May 12, 2016, the 3 CNAs were working the 11 pm – 7 am shift when they witnessed 2 staff nurses tying elderly residents to their wheelchairs using sheets around their waists. Once tied up, the nurses injected sedatives into the victims, despite not having physician’s orders to do so and left them drugged and tied to their chairs for a period of 5 to 6 hours.
Punished For Doing the Right Thing
After the incident occurred, the three CNAs went to supervisors and each reported the incident. Each of the three employees was asked if they wanted to recant and change their story. When each of the CNAs said that they stuck by what they reported, they were terminated. Carrington Place claims that the employees were fired for posting the details on social media. Interestingly, any violations that occur in nursing homes must be reported to state agencies and the three CNAs were fired from Carrington before they were able to do so. The lawsuit states that each of the three employees believe the timing of their dismissal was intentional, so as to attempt to take away the urge to report the incident. The wrongful termination lawsuit against Carrington is not the only one the facility is facing. One of the victims tied up by the nurses is also suing the facility.
Whistleblower Laws Protect Employees in Virginia & Illinois
As with Illinois, laws exist in Virginia that protect employees who report behavior to state and federal authorities from potential backlash by their employers. Sadly, if the three CNAs had gone directly to the state authorities, they may have been able to avoid termination and the resulting defamation they faced by their employer.