RN Drops Age Discrimination Suit Against Huntington Hospital

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A registered nurse who formerly worked at Huntington Hospital has dropped her lawsuit against the Pasadena medical center, in which she had alleged she was the victim of age discrimination when she was stripped of her job in 2019 at age 60 despite being told by the new CEO she would be rehired.

Lawyers for plaintiff Lynda Browning filed a request for dismissal on Jan. 28 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa Traber asking that Browning’s case be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it can’t be refiled later. The court papers did not state whether a settlement was reached or if Browning was not pursuing the case for other reasons.

Browning’s suit, filed last April 29, alleged wrongful termination, age discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation. Browning sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed against the hospital and its parent company, Huntington Health Physicians.

In their court papers, lawyers for the defendants denied Browning’s allegations.

Browning, now 63, was hired at the hospital in the pediatrics department in January 1995, and her duties included triaging patients, assessing their needs, administering medications and advising people on home care for their children, according to her court papers. Browning also was a certified lactation educator and provided consultations to new mothers to help them with breastfeeding.

From 2015-18, Huntington Hospital rated Browning’s technical and professional knowledge as “exceptional” and entrusted her to train new RNs, according to the plaintiff.

The hospital’s human resources department notified Browning in April 2019 that her nursing license had expired, which surprised her because she had already submitted the appropriate fees and proof of her 30 hours of continuing education to renew her license, according to the lawsuit.

Browning was placed off work for two weeks, but renewed her license in half that time, the suit states. However, the hospital’s new CEO, Dr. Timothy Albert, told her in May 2019 that she should resign so that she could then be rehired, according to her court papers.

“Relying on this representation … Browning immediately submitted a handwritten resignation letter,” the suit states.

Browning re-applied about six weeks later, but she was not rehired and her position was filled with a woman about 30 years younger who was not licensed at the time and was paid less money than the plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.

Prior to Browning’s resignation and continuing to the present, the hospital has been replacing RNs with licensed-vocational nurses who require more supervision and cannot perform as many duties as an RN, and are typically younger and paid less, according to the suit.

When Browning applied online for open nursing positions at the hospital, her applications were blocked based on her social security number, the suit states. She says she was eventually able to submit her application and resume for an open job in April 2020, but was never contacted.

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