A security guard at a Chicago-area hospital has filed a lawsuit claiming he was not allowed to wear a face mask to prevent exposure to the coronavirus and is being forced to quit his job as a result of the policy.
Plaintiff Marvell Moody said he has not returned to work at Advocate South Suburban Hospital since March 10, when a supervisor chastised him for wearing a mask the previous day, in a complaint filed in Illinois state court on Thursday.
Advocate South Suburban is a unit of Advocate Health Care, which operates 12 hospitals in Illinois. Cassie Richardson, a spokeswoman for Advocate, said the complaint was being reviewed.
”We are committed to maintaining the safest environment possible for our patients and team members,” she said.
Moody’s lawyers at the Blake Horwitz Law Firm also represent a nurse who filed a retaliation lawsuit against Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago last week. She claims she was fired in retaliation for warning her co-workers that masks the hospital provided did not sufficiently protect them against the highly contagious coronavirus.
Moody in Thursday’s complaint said he was told that hospital policy prohibited security guards from wearing face masks, even though Advocate South Suburban is treating patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Moody cares for his 65-year-old mother, who underwent two surgeries on her lungs last year, according to the complaint. He said he was concerned that he would contract coronavirus and spread it to his mother, his fiancee and her teenage son.
Moody said the hospital’s alleged policy “puts (him) and others at risk of death or great bodily harm.”
The lawsuit accuses Advocate South of constructively discharging Moody for expressing concerns about its policy, in violation of an Illinois law prohibiting retaliation against workers for “disclosing or attempting to disclose … wrongdoing.”
The case is Moody v. Advocate South Suburban Hospital, Illinois Circuit Court, Cook County, No. 2020-L-003819.
For Moody: Jeffrey Grossich of the Blake Horwitz Law Firm
For the hospital: Not available
NOTE: This article has been updated to include a statement from Advocate Health Care.