Cook County

Security Guard Sues South Suburban Hospital Over Face Mask Policy

Marvell Moody said he wasn't allowed to wear a mask on duty, according to hospital policy

NBC 5 News

A security guard at South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest is suing the hospital, claiming supervisors forced him to stop working after he wore a protective face mask on the clock.

Marvell Moody filed the suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, charging the hospital and his supervisor with violating Illinois’ Whistleblower Act after he raised safety concerns.

Moody, who is a caregiver for his 65-year-old mother, wore the mask to work March 9 and was chastised by a supervisor, according to a statement from his attorneys at the Blake Horwitz Law Firm. His employers allegedly told him hospital policy prohibited security officers from wearing masks on duty.

According to the suit, Moody’s mother had two surgeries on her lungs and he was worried he would be putting her at risk if he were to contract COVID-19. He claims he wore the mask to protect himself, his mother, fiancé and her 13-year-old son from the disease.

During a meeting with a supervisor, Moody was told that he would be disciplined if he wore a face mask at work again, the suit states. Moody told his supervisor the policy was unsafe and has not returned to work since March 10.

The suit claims the hospital “constructively discharged” Moody as a result of his complaints about his safety concerns. He seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

A spokesperson for Advocate Health, the hospital’s parent company, said in an email: “We are committed to maintaining the safest environment possible for our patients and team members. We are reviewing the complaint.”

The Blake Horwitz firm filed a similar suit last month on behalf of Lauri Mazurkiewicz, a Northwestern Memorial Hospital nurse who claims she was fired after warning coworkers that the surgical masks provided by the hospital were not as safe as N95 face masks.

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