Hospital sued by former employees

Two former WhidbeyHealth Medical Center employees who worked in the emergency room filed lawsuits against the hospital district, claiming unlawful discharge and other violations of employment law.

David Sharpe, a registered nurse, filed a lawsuit in Island County Superior Court Oct. 2. He left the hospital in 2018. In addition to unlawful termination, Sharpe is claiming a violation of the Family Leave Act, disability discrimination, constructive discharge and violations of overtime rules.

Mary Beth Williams, the former health unit coordinator, filed a lawsuit Sept. 9; she also left the hospital in 2018. She is claiming she was a victim of retaliation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision, and negligent retention of unfit employees.

Both lawsuits focus on the alleged negligence on the part of an emergency department manager and the human resource manager, neither of whom currently work at the hospital.

Sharpe’s lawsuit alleges that he was harassed by the emergency department manager, who violated ER policies and created unsafe patient care by inserting herself in patient-related decisions Sharpe was supposed to be making.

The complaint states that Sharpe went on medical leave because of stress and anxiety from the work environment; he was not offered a comparable position when he returned, in alleged violation of the Family Medical Leave Act.

Williams claimed that the emergency department manager ignored her complaints about harassment from a fellow employee and retailed against her; she also claimed that the human resources manager ignored her complaints.

WhidbeyHealth Medical Center officials fired her in early 2018 over an alleged outburst directed at the emergency department manager, the lawsuit states.

The hospital district has been dealing with a lot of litigation lately. The hospital settled an age discrimination lawsuit this summer for $1.5 million.

Three medical malpractice lawsuits were filed against the district this year.

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