Addus Healthcare worker says she was terminated after filing work comp claim

Kelly Holleran Jun. 7, 2011, 3:48am

A woman has filed suit against her former employer, alleging she was terminated after filing a workers' compensation claim.

Ronda Bennett claims her supervisor at Addus Healthcare fired her on Oct. 15 in retaliation for Bennett's filing for benefits under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act.

Bennett applied for the benefits after falling at work on Jan. 19, 2010, causing her to sustain a sprained neck and back, according to the complaint filed May 20 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

After the fall, Bennett took five days off work, the suit states. When she returned, her supervisors eliminated her payroll and marketing job duties and restricted her computer access, the complaint says. In addition, they decreased the number of hours she was scheduled to work, Bennett claims.

"Her Director came in the Plaintiff's office screaming and yelling at her, removed work from the Plaintiff's desk, removing a computer station from Plaintiff's work area, eliminating Plaintiff's authority to do networking activities and marketing activities, cut the Plaintiff's overtime, restricted Plaintiff's access to management level discussions, announced in front of other members of the staff that Plaintiff was no longer doing payroll for home healthcare aides, and announced that Plaintiff would have no raise when others received the same," the suit states.

Because of her termination, Bennett lost wages and benefits and suffered severe emotional distress and upset, the complaint says.

"The Defendant should reasonably have known that its pattern of conduct of reducing Plaintiff's work duties and demeaning Plaintiff both privately and in front of staff would cause extreme emotional distress by an employee who was just returning from a work-related injury," the suit states.

In her two-count suit, Bennett seeks a judgment of more than $100,000.

She will be represented by Greg Roosevelt of Roosevelt Law Office in Edwardsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-320.

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