Proctor Hospital fired one of its employees for “insubordination.” But the employee claims the real reason is because her husband was undergoing expensive cancer treatment and the hospital didn’t want to cover the costs anymore. So she sued the hospital. Judge Joe Billy McDade found in favor of Proctor (summary judgment), but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and remanded the case to the district court.
You can read the whole ruling here. An edited version appears below. Usually legal texts are quite boring, but I actually found this one to be rather engaging, which is why I’m quoting extensively from it instead of summarizing.
In September 2001, Proctor, a hospital in Peoria, Illinois, hired Dewitt to work as a nurse on an “as-needed” basis. Proctor apparently liked how Dewitt did her job because the following month she was promoted to the permanent position of second-shift clinical manager. In that role, Dewitt supervised nurses and other Proctor staff members.
Three years into the job, Dewitt switched to the first-shift clinical manager slot. In the summer of 2005, she switched to a part-time schedule, sharing the responsibilities of second-shift clinical manager with a coworker.
Dewitt, it appears (for we must assume the facts to be as she presents them at this stage of the proceedings), was a valuable employee. In her last evaluation, her supervisor, Mary Jane Davis, described her as an “outstanding clinical manager [who] consistently goes the extra mile.” But things were not quite as rosy as they appeared.