Former Preston nurse claims age discrimination played role in termination

A former registered nurse at Preston Memorial Hospital said he was   fired because of his age and   sued his former employer.
The suit was filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court   by Gregory Sawyers and names Monongalia Health Systems Inc., which does business as Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital.
The Dominion Post reached out to PMH for comment about the lawsuit but did not receive a response in time for this report.
Sawyers, who is over 55, according to the lawsuit, worked at Preston Memorial Hospital from May 2011 to September 2018.
He was  fired for allegedly committing an act of “gross misconduct” that required his termination, “allegedly in accordance with PMH policies,” the suit stated. The suit does not describe the offense Sawyers was accused of and ultimately fired over.
However, the suit does claim  a “substantially younger” employee did something similar and was not fired or disciplined. It said Sawyers’ alleged offense was cover so he could be replaced by a younger employee.
The suit claims the hospital did not follow its written progressive discipline policy when it fired Sawyers and that he was fired by a different person than the one who hired him. The hospital “consistently failed to follow its own personnel and disciplinary policies,” according to the suit.
Workforce West Virginia conducted a hearing and found that Sawyers did not commit any misconduct and could receive the unemployment benefits he filed for, the suit said.
The suit also describes a hostile work environment for the two years prior to Sawyers’ firing.
It alleges that in addition to firing him for his age, the fact that he reported misconduct of  Dr. Sanjay Bharti played a role in Sawyers’ termination. Bharti was fired For major violations of medical and hospital regulations of Medicare and of West Virginia, including the offense which Sawyers complained about, the suit claims.
The suit asks  Sawyers receive back pay, front pay and lost benefits. It also seeks damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, aggravation, inconvenience and a damaged reputation, as well as punitive damages.