After Being Laid Off and Attempting Suicide, Employee Brings Discrimination and Negligence Claims

August 14, 2019 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​In an action brought by a former hospital employee who attempted suicide after being laid off, the U.S. District Court for the District of Western Pennsylvania has denied a hospital's motions for summary judgment regarding six claims alleging discrimination and negligence. However, the court granted summary judgment to the hospital on the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The parties agreed that the plaintiff, a former certified dietary manager, was a good, well-liked employee. In 2012, when she had been working at the hospital for 14 years, the employee took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for about three months because of anxiety and depression. In 2013, the employee took a four-month FMLA leave for spinal stenosis. On her 2012-2013 performance review, the employee received a good overall score of 3.75 out of 5—and a salary increase and bonus as a result. However, she received a 2 in one category because her absence from work had prevented her from meeting one of her "personal goals." Late in 2014, the employee's immediate supervisor, the director of nutrition...

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