Nurse Alleges LACo Fired Her For Reporting Unsafe Conditions, Sexual Affair

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A nurse practitioner who worked on a contract basis in the Los Angeles County men's jails is suing the county, alleging she was wrongfully fired in April for reporting unsafe working conditions as well as a sexual relationship between two colleagues taking place at work.

Tiffany Bryant's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges harassment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified damages.

A county representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit brought Friday.

Bryant worked for KPG Healthcare, a staffing agency that contracted with the county to provide nursing services, the suit states. She began working with the county in March 2018 and was assigned to the Men's Central Jail and the Twin Towers, according to her complaint.

Bryant worked as many as 70 hours weekly and ran the jail's COVID unit during the pandemic, often being responsible for up to 175 patients with little or no assistance, the suit states.

"Plaintiff complained to supervisors at the county that such (a) patient load was unsafe for both (her) and the patients," the suit states.

In January, an inmate known as a prisoner's rights advocate became ill and Bryant, who was assigned to his care, found out that he had allegedly been given rat poison, the suit states. When Bryant first saw the inmate, he was on a gurney and looked like he was suffering a stroke, but none of the nurses gave the appropriate care, the suit alleges.

Bryan asked for doctors to intervene and help the inmate, but was told the physicians were busy with other patients, according to the suit, which further states the inmate died shortly thereafter and that the county told his family he was the victim of a drug overdose.

"Plaintiff had evidence showing that the inmate was poisoned over a period of time, but her complaints to county personnel went unheeded," the suit states.

In March, a female fellow nurse practitioner accused the plaintiff of engaging in sexually related gossip about her, the suit states. Although the allegation was false, Bryant was aware that her colleague was having sex on county property with a third nurse practitioner and the plaintiff had told investigators she saw the pair in "compromising positions" with the female's makeup smeared on both of them, the suit states.

Observing the other nurse practitioners engaging in sexual acts in the workplace offended Bryant, who considered such behavior to be "wholly unacceptable," the suit states.

But Bryant's truthful reporting of her colleagues' alleged misconduct played a role in her April 13 firing, the suit states.

Before losing her jobs, Bryant's supervisor transferred the plaintiff to a night shift and told her it was because of a conflict between her and the female nurse practitioner allegedly involved in the on-duty sexual relationship with a colleague, the suit states. Bryant was later removed from the schedule entirely, the suit alleges.

Bryant is also a UCLA doctoral student and had hoped to complete her doctoral project through the county's jail facilities, but was forced to withdraw because of her firing and now has to find another position in order to finish the project, the suit states.

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