In 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the hospital for exposing workers to violent patients, and fined it $4,500. According to OSHA, the medical center failed to implement sufficient measures to protect employees from assault. The agency recommended that hospital officials check the facility for weapons, screen patients for potentially violent behavior before they are admitted and provide better training for staff on the hospital’s workplace violence plan.
Schlitt said that while Sweeney is seeking monetary damages from the hospital, her lawsuit is more about preventing further attacks. “The suit against the hospital is about truly trying to effect some change,” she said, pointing to OSHA’s recommendations.
Sweeney said she hopes the suit will help people who face violence in the workplace but fear being reprimanded if they speak up.