A registered nurse who formerly worked at Huntington Hospital is suing the Pasadena medical center, alleging she was the victim of age discrimination when she was stripped of her job in 2019 at age 60 despite being told by the new CEO she would be rehired.
Lynda Browning’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, age discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation. Browning seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed Thursday against the hospital and its parent company, Huntington Health Physicians.
A hospital representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Browning, now 62, was hired at the hospital in the pediatrics department in January 1995, and her duties included triaging patients, assessing their needs, administering medications and advising people on home care for their children, according to her court papers. Browning also was a certified lactation educator and provided consultations to new mothers to help them with breastfeeding.
From 2015-18, Huntington Hospital rated Browning’s technical and professional knowledge as “exceptional” and entrusted her to train new RNs, according to the plaintiff.
The hospital’s human resources department notified Browning in April 2019 that her nursing license had expired, which surprised her because she had already submitted the appropriate fees and proof of her 30 hours of continuing education to renew her license, according to the lawsuit.
Browning was placed off work for two weeks, but renewed her license in half that time, the suit states. However, the hospital’s new CEO, Dr. Timothy S. Albert, told her in May 2019 that she should resign so that she could then be rehired, according to her court papers.
“Relying on this representation … Browning immediately submitted a handwritten resignation letter,” the suit states.
Browning reapplied about six weeks later, but she was not rehired and her position was filled with a woman about 30 years younger who was not licensed at the time and was paid less money than the plaintiff, according to the lawsuit.
Prior to Browning’s resignation and continuing to the present, the hospital has been replacing RNs with licensed-vocational nurses who require more supervision and cannot perform as many duties as an RN, and are typically younger and paid less, according to the suit.
When Browning applied online for open nursing positions at the hospital, her applications were blocked based on her social security number, the suit states. She says she was eventually able to submit her application and resume for an open job in April 2020, but was never contacted.