A mental health worker formerly employed at the Northampton County Prison has filed a suit claiming that she was fired after claiming workers’ comp when she was attacked by an inmate in February of 2013.
According to an article on LehighValleyLive.com, the attack happened when the worker was conducting a mental health assessment of the inmate. Because of the inmate’s past behavior, the worker was interviewing him through a food flap on the door of his cell. The inmate was able to grab her hair and it took three corrections officers to free the worker. She injured her right wrist and has undergone two surgeries to repair it.
After the incident, the worker began receiving workers’ comp benefits through an insurance company to pay for her medical bills and lost wages since she was unable to work. When she was able to return to work, she called her employer to let them know when she would be returning. On her first day back to work, she was told she was being suspended pending an investigation and was escorted from the prison. About a week later she was fired.
According to the suit, she was told the investigation found that she had violated prison policy by her excessive proximity to the inmate. However, she wasn’t told by prison officials that she had done anything incorrectly during the mental health assessment when a video of the altercation was viewed. Upon being fired, her workers’ comp benefits were suspended. She also claims her unemployment compensation was held up because her employer claimed she had quit and was not fired.