Assisted living center sued by former employee over wrongful termination

Kelly Holleran Mar. 25, 2009, 9:55am

A Madison County woman is suing an assisted living center and one of its employees over an alleged wrongful termination for reporting alleged patient abuse.

Annette Ward filed the suit March 23 in Madison County Circuit Court against Beverly Farm Foundations and Vicky Vogt.

Ward worked for the center, which provided 24-hour care to mentally and physically handicapped individuals.

On Sept. 17, Ward's co-worker told her that there had been incidents of patient abuse, the complaint says.

The reported abuse included questions of why a patient had blood on his face and the failure to adequately treat it, the failure of employees to clean and change residents, interchanging the residents' clothes on each other and only allowing a resident to leave his room to go to day camp or to eat, the complaint says.

Ward informed her supervisors, Debbie Reed and Vogt, of the alleged incidents of abuse.

After reporting the alleged abuse, Ward was fired from her job on Sept. 25, the complaint states.

"Annette Ward's discharge was causally related to her reports of abuse and neglect from Beverly Farms," the suit states.

Vogt played a role in Ward's discharge by being in charge of an investigation leading up to Ward's termination and by providing a committee with information they used to fire Ward, the complaint says.

"Vicky Vogt intentionally and wrongfully interfered with Annette Ward's economic relationship that she had with Beverly Farms, by submitting Annette Ward to the committee for termination and providing incomplete and inaccurate information to the committee, resulting in Annette Ward's termination," the suit states.

In the two-count suit, Ward is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Michael J. Brunton of Brunton Law Offices in Collinsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0290.

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