Coppedge v. Connecticut Department of Developmental Services
The Department of Developmental Services may place the name of a job coach who allegedly slaps a developmentally disabled individual on the department's abuse and neglect registry. On June 1, 2010, the plaintiff, who worked at HARC as a job coach to individuals with developmental disabilities, allegedly slapped a client hard, two or three times, after the client called her a "bi---." Co-workers complained, and the Department of Social Services placed the plaintiff's name on an abuse and neglect registry. The plaintiff, who had received training on dealing with aggressive clients in the least restrictive manner, denied that she slapped the client. The plaintiff maintained that when the client called her a "bi---," she merely asked the client to work on a puzzle, because she had been trained to re-direct clients who use inappropriate language. The plaintiff argued co-workers' testimony was not credible, in part because they did not immediately report the alleged incident, and that they were jealous and wanted her good clients. A long-time manager at HARC interviewed the plaintiff and co-workers. The manager was unable to interview the client, who is non-verbal. The hearing officer credited co-workers' testimony. Substantial evidence supported the hearing officer's decision. The decision was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion, and the court denied the plaintiff's appeal.