A nurse in Chicago is claiming wrongful termination after she warned colleagues the masks they were given by Northwestern Memorial Hospital were insufficient protection against the COVID-19 virus.
The nurse, Lauri Mazurkiewicz, says she emailed colleagues and supervisors the day before she was terminated, saying N95 face masks are safer than the masks that the hospital was providing. Mzaurkiewicz had been exposed to patients with the virus in March, and opted to wear those N95 masks she personally owned rather than the masks the hospital required employees to wear. She also claimed the hospital did not allow staff to wear N95 masks.
In her email, she affirmed her stance that she would only wear N95 masks, and warned coworkers about the ineffectiveness of the masks they were given. When she showed up to work the next day wearing an N95 mask, she was allegedly fired on the spot.
Mazurkiewicz says Northwestern fired her to prevent her from sounding the alarm about its malfeasance and to prevent her from telling her coworkers more about the unsafety of the masks. She filed a lawsuit against the hospital, bringing a claim of retaliation under the state’s Whistleblower Act, as well as a claim of retaliatory discharge. The lawsuit names the hospital’s president Jay Anderson and her supervisor Bridget Wicherek as defendants.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the hospital said the safety of its staff and employees is its “highest priority,” and that it is reviewing the complaint from Mazurkiewicz.
If you have reason to believe you were retaliated against or terminated because you blew the whistle on wrongful behavior within your company or organization, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.