Judge bangs his gavel

A large New Jersey-based skilled nursing operator is being accused of retaliation and fostering a hostile work environment by a former executive who claims she was fired after complaining about sexual advances and harassment by a supervisor. 

Christina Caronna filed a lawsuit last week in Monmouth County Superior Court against CareOne; its chief legal counsel, Ricardo Solano Jr.; and Vice President of Special Operations Emily Vazquez, according to Law360.  

Caronna alleges the company and executives violated state discrimination laws by subjecting her to repeated, severe and pervasive gender-based discrimination, as well as harassment and retaliation.

“CareOne does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” a company spokeswoman told McKnight’s Tuesday. “We will be directly addressing the baseless allegations of this lawsuit in court.”

Caronna claims Vazquez made remarks about her body that made her uncomfortable, and that Vazquez “crossed a line” in October 2022 by trying to get into bed with her while drunk and half naked at a healthcare conference in Atlantic City, NJ.

Caronna claims that after she confronted Vazquez about the alleged advances, she was frozen out of decision making and ordered to assume the duties of a facility administrator who resigned. When she took her concerns about Vazquez subjecting her to a hostile work environment to Solano, he suggested she take a severance payout and later fired her, according to the suit.

Caronna is seeking back and front pay and benefits, compensatory, damages, reinstatement, corrective action and training to prevent workplace harassment, and attorney fees.

CareOne operates 35 facilities in New Jersey, 16 in Massachusetts, and one each in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It offers post-acute care and rehabilitation, long-term care, assisted living, memory care, independent living, home health, hospice and other services.