A former nurse at Christian Living Communities and Hearthstone Communities in Woodstock, IL is suing for her job back. The nurse, Juana Walsh, alleges that the nursing home fired her after she acted as a whistleblower by reporting resident abuse to management and the family of the victim. In November 2016, Ms. Walsh went to conduct a routine check on a male resident. The resident was upset and told Ms. Walsh that a male nursing assistant yelled at him and had been physically aggressive while adjusting his pillow. Ms. Walsh reported the incident to her supervisor and the director of human resources for the facility. A social worker was sent to speak with the victim and later reported that he was just confused. Days later, Ms. Walsh gave a written summary of the incident to the victim’s brother. As a result, she was fired and told that she jeopardized the reputation of the facility. She is asking for her job back and for income lost as a result of her termination.
Illinois Whistleblower Act & Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
It is surprising how often we hear stories of nursing home employees being terminated for reporting nursing home abuse and neglect. Legally, nurses, CNAs, and other nursing home employees have protection under the law for reporting abuse to their superiors or to authorities. Firing someone for reporting abuse is referred to as retaliation and is punishable under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Both laws forbid employers from doing anything that punishes an employee for coming forward with proof or suspicions of abuse or neglect and gives the employee the right to pursue civil action that may include obtaining their former job, backpay, and payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and associated legal costs.
Doing the Right Thing: Nursing Home Employees Deserve Protection
If you are a nursing home employee and have witnessed any form of abuse or neglect of residents, you may be struggling with fear of losing your job and worrying for the safety and well-being of those under the facility’s care. With nearly 3 decades of experience representing the best interests of nursing home residents and the good-intentioned employees who care for them, the Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti have spoken with countless nursing home employees who have been pushed to the limit due to actions taken by senior management. Nursing homes are often understaffed to increase profit, leaving overwhelmed and exhausted staff to care for a large number of high needs residents. As we’ve seen with the case of Juana Walsh and countless other nursing homes, senior management also make the critical mistake of firing or otherwise punishing employees for bringing up serious concerns about patient care.
You have the opportunity to do the right thing and protect our most vulnerable citizens from nursing home abuse and neglect that robs them of their dignity, their health, and even their lives. Please let us help them by helping you. Consultations with our attorneys are free and confidential. Call our nursing home whistleblower hotline at 312-332-2872 to discuss how we can work together to protect the safety and well-being of residents where you work. You can also email us confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website contact form.