HONOLULU, Hawaii (CN) – Two Ph.D.s and a social worker say the state fired them for refusing to shut up about the “debilitating effects that financial cuts to mental health services were having” on patients. They claim their bosses “maliciously sought to conceal problems with the mental health system of case by specifically instructing plaintiffs to change their reports or delete plaintiffs’ concerns.”
Thomas Vendetti, Ph.D., Angela Correale, Psy. D., and Anne Sturgis, who has a master’s in social work, sued Gov. Linda Lingle and the director and deputy director of the Hawaii Department of Health, in state court.
The plaintiffs claim that “in deliberate, malicious, and willful attempts to circumvent the legislatively mandated requirements and policies,” they were fired for documenting high rates of suicide and attempted suicide, overuse of in-patient beds, and “at least three separate instances of inappropriate sexual and other unprofessional behavior by Kona Community Mental Health Staff toward consumer patients. These concerns were disregarded and ignored by AMHD’s Executive Team and/or members of AMHD’s Executive Team,” according to the complaint.
They seek punitive damages for whistleblower violations and wrongful firing. They are represented by Eric Seitz.