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Corpus Christi resident files lawsuit against former employer after she was let go for failing to report to work after she claimed to have COVID-19

According to the lawsuit in May, two people at the work place tested positive for COVID-19 and several others have tested positive since.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The lawsuit filed in federal court on June 5 claims Cimarron Place Health and Rehabilitation violated the family's first act when it fired one of its CNAs.

Attorney for the plaintiff Amie Augenstein said her client contacted several clinics as well as the health department. She was administered a test for COVID-19 and told to self-quarantine until she received her test results. 

"Our client became ill, she became sick at work and went home from work and her symptoms were quite scary," Augenstein said. "She was complaining of her heart pounding. She felt nauseous, light headed, hot, feverish, achy bones and muscles. She felt weak, she was coughing, she had a horribly sore throat and then when she laid down she felt like she was suffocating."

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff called her immediate supervisor and told her of her situation. The plaintiff alleges the supervisor then responded that not only would she not be paid for the days she was out experiencing symptoms and waiting for test results, but that she was also fired.

"It wasn't in their policy and that basically or essentially meant that she was terminating herself," Augenstein said. 

The lawsuit states: 

"To be clear, according to management at Cimarron Place, a nursing home, when an employee is experiencing signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, they must still come to work or will be fired or self terminated".

According to the lawsuit in May, two residents at Cimarron Place tested positive for COVID-19 and several others have tested positive since then. We reached out to the owners of Cimarron Place, C.E.O. Derek Prince responded in an email:

"HMG healthcare will not comment on pending litigation. To isolate and quarantine individuals with COVID-19, HMG healthcare began proactively testing all residents and employees for the virus in early May. We remain focused on caring for all our residents and staff, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic."

No hearing date has been set for this case. Incidentally, Augenstein tells 3News, her client tested negative for the coronavirus and remains unemployed. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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