Nurse claims Lake Jackson hospital wrongfully fired her for threatening co-worker

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 20, 2013, 10:09pm

GALVESTON - A Brazoria County woman claims The Community Hospital of Brazosport wrongfully fired her for threatening a co-worker and has filed a lawsuit, recent court documents say.

The suit, filed May 14 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, asserts Freeport resident Krisann Shoemaker did not commit the act in question, arguing the defendant terminated her for exercising her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Shoemaker went on approved leave in mid-September 2012 to care for her grandmother in Waco.

She returned to duty on Sept. 18, 2012, to find a Post-It note tapped to her computer monitor asking her to appear at a nursing peer review meeting.

The suit explains that a peer review is necessary for when a nurse has done something that yielded a complaint.

The plaintiff assumed she was to be a witness given the timing and the delivery method of the note.

An encounter with Cynthia Garcia, a peer review committee member, revealed said note was about a patient coding and dying in a particular unit.

"Nothing else" was said between them, according to the original petition, but the complainant discovered in early October 2012 after another visit to her grandmother that Garcia reported her for purportedly saying she could "go postal," which she says is false.

The respondent, doing business as Brazosport Regional Health System, ordered Shoemaker not to come to work pending an investigation.

It terminated her on Oct. 9, 2012.

Shoemaker insists she had no recent disciplinary actions nor negative evaluations, adding her apparent dismissal was part of CEO Alfred Guevara's efforts to get rid of the more senior nurses.

After her employment with the respondent ended, she took a lower-paying job at another hospital at a further distance from her home.

"The defendant knew better than to believe Ms. Shoemaker would have threatened a co-worker with 'going postal,' but used the misunderstanding as an excuse to be rid of her while she was in the process of exercising her FMLA rights," the suit says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney David R. Schleicher of the Schleicher Law Firm PLLC in Waco is representing the complainant.

Case No. 3:13-CV-378

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