RICO Health Department nurse: Fired for speaking out about a ‘hostile’ workplace


A former nurse for the Rock Island County Health Department is suing for $50,000 and her old job. 

The nurse says she was speaking out against a supervisor who was creating a “hostile work environment” when she was fired.

Local 4 News first brought you this story Tuesday night. Now we’re taking a closer look at the documents. 

The complaint filed against the county, the health department and its administrator Nita Ludwig is six pages long.

The nurse says she started her job last summer and within months she witnessed discrimination based on gender, race and disability.

Here’s the timeline of events laid out by the complaint: 

  • June 2018: Nurse starts job at Rock Island County Health Department. 
  • Late summer/early fall 2018: Nurse says she witnessed gender, race and disability discrimination. Specific events include the supervisor making fun of another coworker’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome and making “racial comments” about a staff member. 
  • Around Oct. 22, 2018: An union representative for the nurse emails a statement to Ludwig. It reads in part: “You have a manager who is creating a hostile work environment for your employees based on … disability, and race. Some of these stories are unbelievable and would reflect poorly on the county health department. In my ten years as a union representative I’ve never seen anything this bad. … I wanted to give you a chance to clear things up before [pursuing] a grievance as well as reminding you of your duty as an employer to prevent such a work environment.” 
  • Oct. 25, 2018: Ludwig interviews the nurse and her supervisor. Nurse also email Ludwig saying the supervisor’s “negative behaviors have escalated … [h]er verbal assaults have gone from uncivil and unprofessional to outright discrimination. This needs to be reported.” 
  • Nov. 13, 2018: Ludwig terminates the nurse saying she “did not pass probation — not a good fit for RICHD.”

The attorney for the nurse and Ludwig both said they cannot comment on the case at this time. 

A hearing is scheduled for July. 

Local 4 News will continue to follow this story.

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