Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Whistle-blower alleges retaliatory discharge from nursing home after reporting alleged abuse

By Carol Ostrow | Jul 6, 2015

Il st clair courthouse

A former nursing home employee claims she was wrongfully terminated after reporting incidents of abuse and neglect that possibly led to the death of at least two of its residents in 2014.

Premissa D. Acoff of Swansea filed a lawsuit on June 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against her employer, Cahokia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Inc. and its parent corporation, SW Financial Services Co., formerly known as SW Management Co., alleging multiple incidents of patient abuse along with retaliation, harassment and a hostile work environment beginning in 2014.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff submitted a written complaint to SW Financial’s regional director and its compliance officer on or about Nov. 12, 2014, stating that she was being retaliated against for reporting abuse and neglect of the facility’s patients.

When the defendant evidently failed to take action, the plaintiff submitted anonymous reports to the Illinois Department of Public Health from mid-November 2014 until early May 2015. The suit states that Acoff did so anonymously because she feared further harassment and/or termination.

Court documents indicate that after Acoff finally submitted a signed report to IDPH on May 6, 2015, simultaneously informing her employer, she was terminated on May 20. The plaintiff maintains that she was discharged in retaliation for stepping forward.

Alleging pain and suffering, damage to reputation, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation, Acoff seeks damages in excess of $50,000, compensation for twice the amount of her back pay with interest, future pay, and punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

She is represented by Mark Schuver and Natalie Lorenz of Mathis, Marifian & Richter in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-341.

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