A company that operates a number of retirement facilities throughout nine states
discriminated against an employee because of her nationality, and then manufactured a false story to justify her firing, the woman claims in a newly filed civil complaint.
Enatorma S. Rogers, who lives in Collingdale, Pa., has filed a civil rights suit against Maryland-based Maris Grove Inc., which does business as Erickson Living, over claims that she was terminated from her position as certified nursing assistant because of her ethnicity.
Erickson Living, which maintains 16 full-service retirement communities in the U.S., is accused of violating the plaintiff’s civil rights in connection with the Sept. 14, 2012 firing, which occurred more than a year-and-a-half after Rogers began working for Maris Grove at its Glen Mills, Delaware County location.
The woman, who earned $17.34 per hour as a full-time nursing assistant, and is an African native, claims she was told in February 2012 that she could no longer care for a patient known as “GG” because of the plaintiff’s heavy accent, the lawsuit states.
The complaint asserts that Maris Grove management was aware that certain employees at the retirement home ridiculed Rogers because of her accent.
In the summer of 2012, the suit states, the plaintiff advised her direct supervisor that she was going to have to report a fellow nursing assistant who Rogers observed leaving the building without punching out of the timekeeping system.
The day after raising her complaint, Rogers received a phone call at home questioning a situation involving patient care and the alleged abuse of the patient known as “GG.”
The suit, however, maintains that Rogers never abused any patient in any manner.
She even submitted to management a written statement to this effect.
Rogers did divulge that an aide had previously advised the plaintiff that “GG” had fell on one occasion, but that the patient was properly cared for.
In early September 2012, the complaint states, Rogers was told by a human resource representative that she would have to provide a statement to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare regarding the treatment of “GG.”
The state agency determined Rogers’ information to be truthful.
“Plaintiff Rogers has learned that the Department of Welfare found that she did not abuse any patient and that the report that was submitted was false and unsubstantiated,” the lawsuit reads.
Nevertheless, the suit states, the plaintiff was told her employment was being terminated due to misconduct, although the woman has “never been advised as to the nature of the alleged misconduct that resulted in her termination.”
In reality, Rogers maintains that she was fired in retaliation for reporting the timecard incident involving the other certified nursing assistant, and also because of her nationality.
“Plaintiff Rogers, a native of Sierra Leone, was treated differently than similarly situated natives of the United States of America,” the suit states.
Rogers claims she has incurred “considerable financial damages and emotional distress” as a result of Maris Grove’s actions, which are considered to have been “willful and outrageous in that the motives and conduct as set forth above are malicious, wanton, reckless and oppressive,” the complaint states.
The plaintiff seeks damages exceeding $150,000, in addition to attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, costs and other court relief.
The plaintiff is being represented by Montgomery County attorney Andrew S. Abramson of Abramson Employment Law LLC.
The suit was filed on July 23 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04246-PD.