HOUSTON – A Houston nursing assistant recently filed a lawsuit against a Texas City hospice alleging she was discriminated against and terminated due to an injury.
Mariela Garcia filed a complaint July 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Amed Hospice in Texas City alleging disability discrimination and retaliation.
Garcia began working for Amed as a certified nursing assistant in June 2010, the complaint said. She was traveling from one patient to another on Sept. 7, 2018, when her car was struck by another vehicle and she was taken to the hospital for injuries to her neck and back. The injury was treated as a workers' compensation injury.
Garcia was not able to work for three weeks and told Amed multiple times that she would return to work after she was released by her doctor to do so, the complaint said.
After Garcia was cleared for light-duty work, she returned to her job in October 2018 and began to be harassed about having to leave for therapy sessions and was treated differently after filing for workers' compensation, the complaint said.
Garcia was then told that she was expected to return to full duty, and she explained that she was not yet able to return to full duty, the complaint said. Garcia alleged she was then put in harm's way by being given an excessively heavy workload.
Garcia alleges she continued to be harassed and on Jan. 31, was injured at work after another employee shoved her against the door, the complaint said. Garcia told her administrator about the incident but the administrator said that he did not want to get involved.
Garcia was cleared to return for light duty work on Feb. 7, and during an argument with a supervisor she was told that she was being let go, the complaint said.
Garcia is seeking a trial by jury, back pay, compensation, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, interest, court costs and any relief deemed fit. She is represented by Alfonso Kennard Jr. of Kennard Law PC in Houston.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, case no. 4:19-CV-02565