Judge’s Wife Claims Work Discrimination

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – BJC Health System fired a woman because she was suffering from depression and because her husband, a judge, was presiding over a class action against it, she claims in city court.
     Taunia Allen Mason began working at BJC in July 2007 as a media production specialist. At the time, BJC was embroiled in a 2004 class action that alleged abusive collection practices and overcharging uninsured patients for medical services.
     Mason’s husband, David Mason, was presiding over the case in St. Louis-based 22nd Circuit Court and had just certified the class in March.
     Mason says BJC tried to recuse her husband in August and then supervisors began criticizing her at work for alleged tardiness, loud phone conversations and misuse of
     Work time.
     Another judge took over the case after it settled in March 2008, and Mason says she received positive performance evaluations for 2007 and 2008.
     In November 2009, however, Mason’s manager criticized her for alleged deficiencies. The manager gave Mason an overall rating of unacceptable in April 2010, a final warning in May and forced her to resign in August, according to the complaint.
     “Plaintiff is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that her husband’s position as a judicial officer presiding over the Quinn action was a contributing factor in the discipline she received during her employment and her eventual termination and in so doing that defendant acted with the purpose to harass Judge Mason because of his March 2, 2007 ruling,” the complaint states.
     Mason says she had told her supervisor that she was being treated for depression on May 13, 2010, three days after she received the final warning.
     The former employee seeks punitive damages for discrimination on the basis of disability and wrongful termination. She is represented by Kirk Holman of Holman Schiavone in Kansas City, Mo.

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