Fired employee sues nursing home after whistleblowing effort backfires

A former employee of a California nursing home is suing the facility, claiming she was fired for trying to have an alleged sex offender removed from the staff.

Michele Scaduto, the former nursing director at Piner's Nursing Home in Napa, CA, alleges she was fired in January after raising concerns about another employee's criminal history, the Napa Valley Register reports. Scaduto reportedly received a tip from a resident's relative that an employee at the home was a convicted felon and registered sex offender, which, her lawsuit says, she and Piner's Administrator Dane Reeves confirmed through an Internet search. In her complaint, Scaduto described the employee as a cousin of Gary Piner, the home's president.

Reeves brought his and Scaduto's concerns to Piner, under the assumption that state law forbids sex offenders from working with elders. Scaduto's complaint alleges she was fired without explanation shortly after her concerns about the employee were brought to Piner's attention.

Scaduto's claim “lacks information and belief  sufficient to answer the allegations,” lawyers for the nursing home said in documents filed in Napa County Superior Court. Scaduto is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for lost pay, as well as punitive and pain and suffering damages.