Harrisburg nurse suing Epic Health Services after alleged assault
A Harrisburg nurse is suing Epic Health Services for negligence and punitive damages after she said she was sexually assaulted in her patient's home in late December.
The lawsuit was filed in York County in April. The assault in York County led to a $98,000 fine and citations for the victim's employer, Epic Health Services.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, opened an investigation Feb. 1 after an employee of AndVenture Inc. reported being sexually assaulted by a home care client. AndVenture Inc. does contract work with Epic Health Services.
“Epic Health Services failed to protect its employees from life-threatening hazards of workplace violence and failed to provide an effective workplace violence prevention program," Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia, said in a news release. “No worker should ever have to sacrifice their physical well-being to earn a paycheck.”
Epic Health Services is a national organization, serving 17 states. It provides in-home care for children and adults.
According to court documents, the alleged victim said she was assaulted by her patient's father, Rodwell Kennedy, on Dec. 26, in Kennedy's home while she was providing pediatric care for his child.
Kennedy was arrested March 16, according to online court documents. He was arraigned March 17 and was charged with rape, sexual assault, corruption of minors and indecent assault without the consent of others.
Complaint: The civil complaint alleges this was not the first time Kennedy had made sexual advances toward the in-home nurse. In April or May 2015, Kennedy allegedly made comments about the woman's buttocks and breasts and tried, sometimes successfully, to grope her breasts and her buttocks on a weekly basis.
According to the civil complaint, two other in-home nurses who worked for Epic Health Services in Kennedy's home were assaulted by Kennedy. The woman said her employer never informed her of those incidents.
OSHA issued one willful citation against Epic Health Services, stating employees were exposed to the hazard of workplace violence on Dec. 26, 2015, resulting in verbal and serious physical assaults while providing nursing care services to clients.
The willful citation from OSHA also said that on March 8, employees were sent to hostile home environments, resulting in verbal intimidation and threats of serious physical assaults while providing nursing care services to clients. That citation amounted to $70,000 in fines.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement, purposefully disregarded the requirement or acted with indifference to employee safety.