Three Augusta Health Guards Claim Unfair Termination - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Three Augusta Health Guards Claim Unfair Termination

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A former security guard on the campus of Augusta Health says he and two of his fellow officers were unfairly terminated.  The alleged firing stemmed from a pair of incidents involving a patient that he claims was violent and suicidal.

The guard at the center of this case says medical privacy laws force him to stay anonymous until he gets legal advice.  He tells NBC29 he worked for a private security firm assigned to Augusta Health, until being accused of roughing up a patient because of his sexual orientation.

Private security guards constantly patrol the grounds and buildings on the Fishersville campus of Augusta Health.  But three of them were fired after a pair of encounters in mid-May, with a young adult patient at the Crossroads Behavioral Health Center.  The hospital has no comment.

Augusta Health Spokeswoman Lisa Schwenk said, "Due to privacy and confidentiality issues, we cannot talk about any incidents that are specifically about a specific patient."

One of the guards tells NBC29 that he and his security team were doing only what they absolutely had to do to keep a dangerous patient from harming himself or others.  In one case, he says he had to chase the patient all the way to Interstate 64, then tackle and handcuff him to prevent him from running into traffic.

The guard tells NBC29 the patient loudly claimed he was being beaten up and choked because he was gay.  The guards were all reportedly terminated within days but not by Augusta Health.

"The security services here at Augusta Health are provided by a contracted firm," said Schwenk.  "So it would not be appropriate for us to discuss any personnel issues that were relative to that firm."

That firm - G4S Security Solutions - is based in Florida, and did not return a call for comment.  The fired guard says "we did everything right" and believes surveillance video and witnesses would back up his claims.

The security officer claims he and his colleagues were sacrificed to avoid a lawsuit.  But he's considering his own legal action, and will be seeking advice from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Human Rights Council.

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