Woman Allegedly Terminated for Reporting Abuse at Health Agency
For immediate release
PITTSBURGH – A Pennsylvania woman has filed a civil lawsuit after she alleged that she was terminated from her job in the home health care industry after she reported allegations of client abuse.
According to a civil complaint filed in the Western District Court of Pennsylvania, Plaintiff Mary Ann Roberts began working for AMA Support Services on April 20, 2018 as a full-time employee for the home health care business. Eventually, she was promoted to the position of House Manager, and she became responsible for overseeing a resident and an entire property, according to the complaint. Ms. Roberts alleged that her job duties included overseeing twelve employees, caring for an individual with intellectual disabilities, managing the staff and scheduling their shifts, regular documentation of medications, and state compliance requirements.
In February 2020, according to the filing, Ms. Roberts was informed by another employee that acts of client abuse were regularly occurring in another home managed by AMA Support Services. According to the complaint, Ms. Roberts was extremely concerned by the statement that was made to her because it alleged that a client was being hit and kicked by an employee. After hearing this report, Ms. Roberts alleged that she spoke to numerous witnesses about her concerns, and she reported the allegation to the company’s operations manager. Ms. Roberts was then asked to make a written report regarding the allegations, which she provided to the company, according to the complaint. In addition to making the report, according to the filing, Ms. Roberts stressed the importance of the company’s duty to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the complaint, soon after she made the report, Ms. Roberts’ exact job was posted as open. Further, a company-wide email went out advertising her job, according to the complaint. Ms. Roberts alleged that she was the only staff member who did not receive the email. Then, on February 20, 2020, Ms. Roberts was informed that she was suspended from her position, according to the complaint. She alleged that she immediately contacted AMA CEO Olivia Onsell to ask her why she had been suspended. According to the complaint, Ms. Onsell requested that Ms. Roberts come in the following Monday to discuss the matter. Ms. Roberts alleged that during this meeting, Ms. Onsell informed her that her position with AMA was terminated as a result of her “willful misconduct.” No further information was provided to her, she alleged. According to the complaint, a termination letter dated February 24, 2020 stated that Ms. Roberts was terminated for “multiple and repeated violations of company policy and procedure.”
In the two-count complaint, Lead Attorney David Manes alleged that Ms. Roberts was wrongfully terminated by AMA in violation of both the Whistleblower Protection Provision of the Pennsylvania Adult Protective Services Act, as well as established public policy throughout the Commonwealth. According to Attorney Manes, the “true reason” for Ms. Roberts’ termination “was retaliation for [her] lawful, reasonable, and legally-protected activities that she took to (i) comply with legal mandates to report abuse, (ii) report unlawful conduct or abuse she was aware of or suspected, (iii) participate in an appropriate investigations into abuse, (iv) oppose or stand up against unlawful abuse, and/or (v) personally investigate reports of abuse.”
Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, Ms. Roberts filed a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was provided with a legal a right to sue.
Ruppert Manes Narahari is a Pittsburgh-based employment law firm representing workers who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed, or cheated by their employers. The firm also provides business law-related services and represents small businesses and entrepreneurs in startup, transactional, and litigation matters.
For more information on the claims made by Ms. Roberts against AMA Support Services, contact the law office of Ruppert Manes Narahari at 412-626-5626.