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Former employee sues Minnesota hospital for cover-up

A Hennepin County woman accused Woodwinds Health Campus of destroying key documents that could have harmed the hospital's reputation. The federal lawsuit alleges that the officials of the hospital were involved in a cover-up, purportedly hiding incidents. These incidents possibly could have led to lawsuits against the hospital.

The woman, who is a former employee, alleges that the hospital's cover-up drove her to attempt suicide more than once. This is due to her psychiatric issues. Circumstances like this as well as incidents involving employment discrimination are clearly harmful to employees. However, in this case, officials of HealthEast Care System, the parent organization, deny the allegations.

The lawsuit cites a concern from a woman who had complained about a hospital doctor, who was allegedly drunk when he delivered her baby. The plaintiff alleges that authorities advised her not to document or share the investigation details with the patient. As a result, the former employee's health further deteriorated, leading to a suicide attempt.

The plaintiff was then placed on medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and was eventually asked to look for a job elsewhere. Consequently, she had to apply for long-term disability, which prompted a second suicide attempt. The plaintiff is seeking monetary damages, alleging FMLA violations, negligent infliction of emotional distress and other claims.

An employee in Minnesota has specific rights under FMLA and other employment laws. A person who is denied leave in certain cases, or is discriminated against for being a whistleblower may be entitled to punitive damages, lost wages or even emotional distress. An employer that has retaliated against an employee who believed in good faith or observed some kind of violation should be held responsible for their actions. A person who is struggling with a similar situation should not face it alone.

Source: Woodburybulletin.com, "Woodbury hospital sued by former employee amid cover-up allegations," Riham Feshir, Jan. 8, 2013

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