Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 23, 2009

Federal Judge Rebukes Pine Bay-VA Administrators

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 11:10 pm

Full Article at: Judge rebukes Bay Pines VA leaders

By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Nov 23, 2009

TAMPA — “Four women who won a $3.7 million verdict in July against the Bay Pines VA Medical Center thought the big award would be a hard lesson learned for the facility’s administrators.

But even after a jury decided that Bay Pines illegally retaliated against the women for filing workplace discrimination complaints, none of Bay Pines leaders were dismissed or reprimanded.

“The message Bay Pines gave employees is, ‘No matter what you do, nothing is going to happen. We’re not going to change,’ ” said Dr. Claudia Cote, one of the four who won the verdict.

All that changed on Monday when a federal judge offered a stunning rebuke of administrators at the nation’s fourth-busiest veterans hospital, barring them from any further retaliation against their workforce of 3,000 employees over discrimination complaints.

And the judge ordered administrators back to school, requiring Bay Pines director, Wallace Hopkins, his chief of staff and chief of medicine, to undergo “remedial instruction” on preventing workplace discrimination and retaliation.

Magistrate Judge Tom McCoun said his order is necessary because “discriminatory conduct” would continue without court intervention.

“Indeed, it appears that no changes have been made at all at Bay Pines VA in response to the verdicts in this case,” McCoun’s order said.”

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