The Pantagraph had a story about the whistleblower at Heritage Health. Katrina Wesemann was employed as a licensed practical nurse at Heritage Health in Dwight in October 2012 when she was fired by her employer, Bloomington-based Heritage Enterprises Inc., which operates 54 long-term facilities, including 53 in Illinois. Wesemann claimed she was fired from the nursing home after she reported alleged abuse. A jury compensated her for the wrongful termination in the amount of $5.2 million. Telling the truth has its benefits! The verdict included past wages and benefits and $5 million in punitive damages for the nurse who worked at the facility for about 19 months.
Wesemann was fired because she refused to follow orders from the facility’s director of nursing “to ‘drop a pill’ or double-dose agitated residents with anti-anxiety medications and refused to delete or omit records of suspicious injuries on residents,” according to a statement from Timothy J. Coffey, one of Wesemann’s lawyers.
The jury sided with the former worker on all three counts brought under Illinois whistleblower laws that protect employees from retaliation for reporting improper conduct at nursing homes and other regulated industries.