CNAs sue nursing home claiming retaliation, defamation in resident restraint case

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Three former employees of a Virginia skilled nursing facility have sued the provider and its parent company, claiming they were fired after they raised concerns about residents being tied to wheelchairs using bedsheets.

In a lawsuit filed last week, the certified nursing assistants claim they were suspended and fired from Carrington Place of Chesapeake in Chesapeake, VA, after they reported seeing other employees use sheets to restraint residents. The lawsuit targets the facility, its executive director, the director of nursing and its management company, Traditions Senior Living.

The three CNAs — Earlene Boone-Hill, Angela Benbow and Melissa King — say they met with the facility's executive director and director of nursing to discuss the incident and were repeatedly asked if they wanted to change their statements. All three say that they were then reported to the state's Office of Licensure and Certification for making false reports.

“They did nothing wrong,” an attorney for the CNAs told the Virginian-Pilot. “In fact, they did everything right.”

The suit also claims that a Victoria Walker, spokeswoman for Traditions, damaged the CNAs' reputations when she issued a statement about an earlier lawsuit filed against the facility by the family of one of the residents who had been restrained.

In that case, Walker emailed comments to the Virginian-Pilot that said the fired CNAs “illegally” posted about the incident on social media and were “motivated by trying to get a supervisor in trouble.”

Hill-Boone, Benbow and King are each seeking $2.75 million in damages.

Attempts to contact Walker through Traditions were unsuccessful. A call to Carrington Place for comment was not returned by press time Tuesday.