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Former Anne Arundel hospital employee alleges harassment, firing were discriminatory

A former Anne Arundel Medical Center employee has sued the hospital, claiming she was discriminated against and ultimately fired because of her national origin and an on-the-job injury which limited her to light duty for several months.

Mary Munu, a 63-year-old native of Sierra Leone, began work as a sterile processing technician at the medical center in December 2007, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. In March 2013 she was injured while lifting heavy medical equipment and was placed on light duty.

A new supervisor took over two months later and, Munu alleges, began a pattern of discrimination against Munu, including mocking her accent, threatening to suspend her and sending her home because of her light-duty status.

“She was ridiculed and harassed by her supervisors and it’s just unfortunate they were so harsh with her given that the understood she had an injury and that persisted even when she came back to full duty,” said Corlie McCormick Jr., an Annapolis solo practitioner representing Munu.

Munu was reevaluated at least twice and continued on light-duty status which limited the amount she could lift and prohibited working overtime, according to the complaint. Yet the supervisor scheduled Munu to work overtime — unbeknownst to Munu — and then suspended her suspended her for failing to show up to work, later telling the employee health office he could not accommodate her and having her stay home, according to the complaint.

A different supervisor also repeatedly threatened to suspend Munu, mocked her after she missed a day of work for illness and filed a complaint about her work performance, according to the lawsuit.

“AAMC suspended Plaintiff because of her national origin and in retaliation for engaging in protected activity when she sought light duty accommodations and not for any legitimate non-discriminatory reasons,” the complaint states.

A spokeswoman for AAMC declined to comment because the case involves the subject of an open investigation of a personnel matter.

After Munu requested to be transferred to a different shift because of an interaction with a coworker last July, she was suspended without pay while the incident was investigated. When she returned to work she was informed she was being “terminated for her failure to meet working requirements,” according to the complaint.

Munu alleges discrimination based on national origin, creation of a hostile work environment based on national origin and retaliation, citing a lack of similar treatment for American-born workers.

“It wasn’t until this particular supervisor was hired that she started to have these issues and she’s six years into her performance at that time,” McCormick said.

The case is Mary Munu v. Anne Arundel Medical Center, 1:17-cv-00018-JFM.

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