Health Law Highlights

5th Circ. Backs NLRB On Nurse Fired Over COVID Complaints

From Law360, by Tim Ryan:

The Fifth Circuit court upheld a 2022 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that Texas-based Renew Home Health LLC unlawfully dismissed a nurse who raised concerns about the company’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three-judge panel unanimously rejected Renew’s argument that Bornschlegl was a supervisor and therefore not protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The nurse was fired in April 2020 after she and her coworkers wrote a letter expressing concerns about shortages of personal protective equipment and inadequate hazard pay during the early stages of the pandemic.

Renew Home Health argued that the nurse was not protected under the NLRA as she was a supervisor. However, the panel disagreed, stating that the board had enough evidence to conclude that Renew fired the nurse due to her protected activity. The company had claimed that she was fired because she signed a coworker’s name to the letter without permission, but the panel found that her protected activity was a motivating factor in her termination.