Carlson v. Sheriden Woods Health Care Center Inc.
Allegations that a worker at a nursing facility was discharged the same day that she filed an internal incident report can be adequate to allege retaliatory discharge, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §19a-532. On June 22, 2011, the plaintiff, Alison Carlson, allegedly discovered that a newly admitted patient, who had been admitted with orders to be on a feeding tube 24 hours per day, had not received the feeding tube six hours after admission. Carlson discovered that the supply area at the nursing home lacked feeding tubes and took a feeding tube from another patient, so that the newly admitted patient would feed. Later that day, the facility's director, Robert Frisk, discharged Carlson, after she wrote an internal incident report. Carlson sued, alleging retaliatory discharge, in violation of C.G.S. §19a-532, because she acted to protect a nursing home patient and reported life threatening abuse or neglect to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the commissioner of the Department of Social Services. The defendant employer moved to strike. The court denied the motion. The statutes provide that a nursing facility may not discharge a worker, because the worker exercises a patient's rights to be free from abuse and to receive quality care and be treated with respect, by filing a complaint with DPH or social services about the patient's alleged abuse or neglect. Here, the plaintiff filed an internal reportwhich the nursing facility's director would be required to forward to the DPHand did not personally file a complaint with DPH. "The [plaintiff]," wrote the court, "sufficiently [alleged] that she filed, instituted or caused to be instituted a complaint with the DPH for the purposes of General Statutes §19a-532."