Security guard alleges knee problem led to firing from St. Luke's

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | May 15, 2013

HOUSTON - Montgomery County resident Brenda Smith claims St. Luke's Episcopal Health System Corp. and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital fired her for refusing to undergo an evaluation she felt she did not have enough information about and has filed a lawsuit.

According to recent court documents filed May 10 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Smith's problem with her right knee prompted the defendants to have her submit to a functional capacity evaluation.

The 61-year-old Smith, who was formerly employed as a security officer, states that she requested more information about the evaluation, but was not satisfied with what the respondents told her.

Despite her "bad" knee, the original petition says, the plaintiff "was always able to complete the duties of her position" and was free of "injury or any limitations of any of her major life's activities."

Smith made it clear that she was not going to take the test, which she asserts was administered to the elder workers.

She adds two other employees informed her that one of the superiors had stated directly to them that she intended to "get rid" of older workers."

After the complainant signed a letter indicating her refusal to participate in the evaluation more than two years ago, the defendants terminated her for alleged insubordination.

The suit insists that Smith "would have gladly" taken the examination had she been told about its requirements so she can determine whether it would put her knee at risk.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Jo Miller of the Law Office of Jo Miller PLLC in Conroe is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1373

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