Nursing home sued after employee posts nude photos of resident

The lawsuit marks a first in cases of SNF employees abusing social media
The lawsuit marks a first in cases of SNF employees abusing social media

A lawsuit has been filed against a South Dakota nursing home where an employee posted nude photos of a resident on social media. This marks the first time a facility has been sued in such a case, in addition to repercussions for the employee.

Callie Jones, an employee at Golden LivingCenter in Pierre, SD, was charged in June 2015 with a misdemeanor after she took photos of a nude resident and published them on social media. Jones pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three days in jail. The resident who was photographed died in August 2015.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the resident's estate, claims Golden Living was negligent in hiring, training and supervising Jones, and failed to ensure the victim's well-being. The suit is seeking unspecified damages.

As cases involving nursing home employees abusing social media become more common, this new lawsuit represents a rare course of action taken against an employer and not just the employee at fault.

The facility's director declined to comment on the allegations or whether Jones still works at the facility, the Argus Leader reported.

In a statement to McKnight's, Golden Living spokeswoman Michelle Metzger said that while the company runs full background checks on prospective employees, there is an "element of unpredictability" in employee behavior. 

"Our systems of oversight in our LivingCenters offer reasonable protection against the possibility that an employee will misbehave, but there is always a risk that anti-social conduct will go undetected for a short period of time," Metzger said. "Golden Living's priority is to protect the health, safety and confidential information of our patients and residents, and we work hard to monitor the use of mobile devices and cameras in our LivingCenters. We take any violation of privacy very seriously and must remain vigilant to ensure our employees, residents, patients and guests share our commitment to protecting confidential information."