Dismissed hospital worker blames firing on former CEO's brewery

A former Minnesota community hospital employee is accusing the hospital of firing her in retaliation for sharing concerns about the name of a brewery owned by the family of the former hospital CEO, reports The Free Press.

According to The Free Press, Deidre Hruby claims she was removed from her job as the director of patient care for Madelia Community Hospital and Clinic after she raised concerns about the name of the brewery and its beers to her co-workers. She was worried that names such as Hopzophrenia IPA and Personality Disorder Porter, were inflammatory.

The hospital disputed the claim she was fired for speaking her concerns about the name of the brewery and said Ms. Hruby's position was cut due to "an ongoing effort by the hospital to address a substantial budget deficit."

Ms. Hruby said she started a community mental health task force in 2015 with then-hospital CEO Candace Fenske. When Ms. Fenske's family opened Lost Sanity Brewing three years later, Ms. Hruby said she expressed her concerns about the name to her co-workers, according to her civil employment lawsuit.

Ms. Hruby's lawsuit alleges that Ms. Fenske reprimanded her after learning of the discussion between Ms. Hruby and her co-workers, but didn't reprimand her her co-workers, according to the report. The hospital denies that she was reprimanded and her co-workers were not.

When Ms. Fenske announced her retirement, Ms. Hruby applied for the CEO job, according to the report. She was not considered for the job, and never received an interview, according to the complaint.

In early 2019, Ms. Hruby filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That claim was dismissed in March, and she was told by the new CEO Jeff Mengenhausen that her position was being eliminated indefinitely in April.

However, Ms. Hruby filed a new complaint this month in Watonwan County District Court, alleging the hospital violated Minnesota human rights law by firing her in retaliation and seeks financial damages, according to The Free Press.

The hospital said it "look[s] forward to the opportunity to present the facts, and we believe that the court will ultimately dismiss the complaint."

Read the full report here


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