Staff Allegedly Fired for Raising Quality Issues

The plaintiff, Teresa Weeks was a mental health technician at the Keys of Carolina facility during 2008 and 2009. She was also a part-time employee of the North Carolina Department of Social Services. She alleged that throughout her employment, she complained to facility management about issues related to staff training levels, staff safety, client supervision and client safety. The specific issues alleged included a failure to protect medical information about clients, inadequate supervision of the sex offender unit, errors in the administration of medication as prescribed, insufficient therapy sessions, harassment and threatening of clients by staff, failure to follow state approved client restraint procedures, insufficient numbers of properly trained staff on duty, and improper reporting and investigation of incidents. She also complained to the North Carolina Department of Social Services, North Carolina Department of Labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The plaintiff alleged that she was fired because of her regulatory complaints and because she is a Black woman. The plaintiff alleges that the facility was cited by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for similar violations in 2008 and 2009, which led to penalties that included a suspension of admissions and three fines of up to $6,000. She further alleges that after she was fired in December 2009, state inspectors found more violations and ordered facility to stop admitting clients in April 2010. The facility’s license was revoked on June 18, 2010 but it was able to reach a settlement agreement with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff’s lawsuit was settled in March 2012.