Jury rejects SNF surveyor's claims of retaliation, harassment by health department

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A California nursing home evaluator who claimed she was forced to close investigations by her managers in the state's health department has had her case thrown out.

A jury rejected the lawsuit brought by Rose Espiritu against the California Department of Health on Thursday, two days after the trial began.

Espiritu's lawsuit stems from a worker's compensation claim she filed against the health department, saying it did not reasonably accommodate her carpal tunnel syndrome. That affected how she typed up nursing home reports, she said.

The health department gave Espiritu wrist pads to aid in her typing, instead of the voice recognition software she requested, according to local reports. The jury in the case decided those wrist pads counted as reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The jury also rejected claims that Espiritu was verbally harassed by three of her supervisors after she filed the compensation claim.

Espiritu's lawsuit alleged that her managers retaliated against her after she filed the claim by forcing her to close nursing home investigations and “providing false or inaccurate information” relating to the cases. One of those cases involved allegations of poor quality or care at a facility where a resident later died.

The department said it is keeping Espiritu's job open for her to return to now that the jury has rejected her case, according to 10News.