Male CNA who wears women's clothing can pursue charges that nursing home defamed him

Share this article:

A Texas certified nursing assistant can continue to pursue charges that his former nursing home employer has made false, defamatory statements about him in the job referral process, a federal court recently ruled.

The male CNA, Tony Rivers, “routinely wears a female wig, makeup, jewelry and women's clothes,” according to court documents. He alleges that he was harassed while working for Johnson Custodial Home Inc. and Legacy Care Centers Inc., doing business as Maggie Johnson Nursing Center in Austin. Ultimately, he was fired based on trumped-up charges of resident abuse, Rivers claims. He has not been hired subsequently because the defendants are giving potential employers defamatory information about him, the lawsuit contends.

The defendants argued that their statements should be protected under a Texas anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law. The law is intended to protect people's ability to speak out on matters of “public concern” without facing burdensome and expensive litigation meant mainly to silence complaints or other forms of speech.

The communications between the defendants and Rivers' potential employers were private and therefore not protected by the anti-SLAPP law, District Judge Sam Sparks ruled.

Even if the communications were covered by the statute, the defendants did not prove that they were about matters of public concern, he added. Although Texas law does say that employer disclosures about workers may benefit “the public welfare,” this does not mean all employer statements rise to the level of “matters of public concern,” Sparks wrote.

A spokesman at Maggie Johnson told McKnight's he could not comment on the case at this time.

Share this article:

More in News

White House creates new national strategy on antibiotics

White House creates new national strategy on antibiotics

The Obama administration has unveiled a national strategy to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It includes an executive order to direct the federal government to "reduce the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant ...

Medicaid provider agreement remains legitimate during bankruptcy proceedings, judge rules

Medicaid must continue to make payments to a Florida nursing home undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, a federal judge rule recently.

Legislator pushes for more HCBS services for Medicaid beneficiaries

Medicaid beneficiaries would have an opportunity to receive more care in a home or community-based setting if a House of Representatives bill passes.