The former director of nursing for Nazareth Hospital is suing the
Philadelphia healthcare institution over claims that she was unlawfully fired from her job due to a health ailment.
Charissa Bermingham, who resides in Holland, Bucks County, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on April 28 against Nazareth Hospital and Mercy Health System, which bills itself as the largest Catholic healthcare system serving the Delaware Valley.
The plaintiff says she was terminated in early April of last year due to her requesting special accommodations due to her Lyme disease, a condition that also affects her daughter.
Bermingham first applied for intermittent leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for her daughter, who was diagnosed with the disease first, and she later requested leave to deal with her own Lyme Disease diagnosis.
During the last several months of her employment, the lawsuit states, Bermingham essentially held two jobs, that of director of nursing and hospital administrator, since the previous administrator had left the healthcare institution.
In March 2013, the plaintiff’s doctor provided a note to the defendants explaining that Bermingham would be temporarily restricted to working five hours per day, according to the complaint.
When Bermingham was eventually fired on April 8, 2013, she was told she was losing her job because of a “restructuring of leadership,” but the only other position affected by the alleged “restructuring” was the administrator position for which the plaintiff was also performing many of the job duties, the lawsuit states.
“Defendants did not offer any alternative positions to Plaintiff following the purported restructuring, even though Defendants had other vacant positions within for which Plaintiff was qualified,” the suit states.
The complaint says that Bermingham performed her job satisfactorily for three years and that she was likely terminated because of her disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The suit contains counts of interference, retaliation and discrimination.
The plaintiff seeks back and front pay, benefits, unspecified punitive damages, litigation costs, attorney’s fees and other legal relief.
She is being represented by Bensalem, Pa. employment attorney Ari R. Karpf of Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti P.C.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-02432-MSG.