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Nurse claims she was fired for complaint that hospital’s COVID-19 protections were inadequate

By Wayne D. Garris Jr., J.D.

According to her lawsuit, the hospital banned employees from using N95 masks and forced them to use ineffective masks, exposing them to illness.

A former infectious disease nurse at a Chicago-area hospital has filed suit alleging that she was terminated after warning her coworkers that the masks that the hospital provided did not adequately protect them from COVID-19.

According to her complaint filed in Illinois state court on March 23, after the hospital began accepting COVID-19 patients, the hospital prohibited employees from wearing N95 respirator masks on the employer’s premises and distributed “less effective” masks for employees to wear.

The nurse alleged that in response to the hospital’s policy, she sent an email to her colleagues informing them that N95 facemasks are safer and more effective than the facemasks distributed and mandated by the hospital and that she would be wearing an N95 facemask. The hospital terminated her employment the next day.

The complaint alleges retaliatory discharge under state law and a violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act.