Human resources manager says termination is illegal

Kelly Holleran Aug. 11, 2014, 11:58am

The former director of human resources for a financially insolvent company has filed suit against it, alleging she was fired due to her age and her refusal to play favorites among company employees.

Terry L. Birdd filed suit July 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division against Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants P.A., CVC Cardiac Cath Lab PLLC and East Texas Medical Center.

According to the complaint, Birdd was hired as director of human resources for defendant CVC Cardiac Cath Lab on March 8, 2009. Throughout the past few years, CVC's cardiology practice has been dwindling, and its management has been in talks to either merge or to form a partnership with Trinity Mother Frances Hospital, according to the complaint.

However, the plan did not work as expected, the suit states. In turn, the managers conspired to either form a partnership with or be purchased from East Texas Medical Center, the complaint alleges.

According to the plaintiff, the purpose of the scheme was to reduce the asset base of CVC to the point of bankruptcy in a blatant attempt to relieve the managers of individual liability all the while creating a "Golden Parachute" type escape where the managers walk away with all valuable assets, no liability, exceptional employment and earning capabilities, thereby closing CVC's doors, leaving the CVC employees with no employment, then not paying the CVC employees all of the fringe benefits and monies owed by CVC to the employees in the estimated amount of over $300,000 and also not paying the CVC creditors in an estimated amount of more than $1 million while partnering with ETMC.

As part of the scheme, the managers created a CVC Cardiac Cath Lab on July 27, 2012, the complaint says. Once the new lab became solvent, its management -- who also owned the failing CVC -- began talking with ETMC about buying or partnering with them, Birdd claims. Eventually, ETMC management agreed to become partial owners of the Cath Lab, according to the complaint.

The original CVC is expected to close in a few months, but it will not affect management in any way, as they are continuing to profit from the Cath Lab, the suit states.

Due to CVC's continued financial insolvency, however, it has eliminated several positions, the complaint says. Staff are finding it more difficult to keep pace with the increased work flow, the suit states.

Birdd claims she complained about the way employees at CVC were being treated, saying the management's employment practices were unlawful. As a result, she began to receive direct attacks regarding her work, according to the complaint.

Not only was Birdd being retaliated against, but she claims her job has become an increasingly hostile work site where employees engage in sexual harassment without consequence, the complaint says. She also claims she was told to treat certain employees different than others.

Birdd eventually lost her job on Feb. 25, according to the complaint.

Allison BedoreBirdd accuses the defendants of engaging in age discrimination because she was more than 40 years old when she lost her job. She also alleges gender discrimination, sexual harassment with mental abuse within the hostile work environment, sexual harassment, retaliation, corporate veil and fraudulent conveyance and breach of contract against the defendants.

The plaintiff is seeking $75,000 in damages including back pay and costs.

She is being represented by Weatherford attorney Allison Bedore.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division case number 6:14-cv-00656.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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