Worker Sues Employer Over Bed Bug Exposure

By: mike.mcknight@wowt.com Email
By: mike.mcknight@wowt.com Email

Health care professionals face risks everyday-- especially those who go into a patient's home. But does an unexpected exposure to bed bugs go beyond the call of duty? A lawsuit examines that question.

After caring for an elderly patient home health aide Jamie Leinart needed treatment for bedbugs. Leinart says, "These are the different bites that I got." Leinart sued her former employer Encompass Senior Solutions for three thousand dollars. That includes a 12-hundred dollar reimbursement to killed bedbugs in her home which involves turning on space heaters throughout the house raising the temperature to 140 degrees.

Jamie claimed her employer knew but didn't warn her patients home might bedbugs. Leinart says, " To get bedbugs and then bring them back into your home, have to pay for the treatment for that, that's a whole different ball game. That's not your common illness. It can be prevented."

Encompass Senior Solutions manager called the suit frivolous stressing the company would never knowingly send an employee into home with bedbugs or other health risks without warning. But a small claims court judge awarded Jamie lost wages and half what she asked for exterminator costs for a total of 12-hundred dollars.

Jamie Leinart says, " I’m in health care so I took on that risk but in reality it was them who put me in position to contract bed bugs."
Jamie says the judge stated health risks go with the job. But the judgment in her favor shows bedbugs can be a legal liability for companies with employees who make house calls.

The director of Encompass Senior Solutions calls the judgment unfair but says it has been satisfied. However the former employee says only her medical bills have been paid through workers comp and she has yet to collect the twelve hundred dollar judgment.


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