Former administrator sues Care Center

A former Port Orchard Care Center employee has filed a lawsuit alleging the facility fired him because he asked for time off to report for Air Force Reserve duty.

Bruce Dougherty, who had served as executive director of the facility for just over a year, was fired Sept. 20.

Todd Fletcher, a senior executive director for parent company Life Care Centers of America, was Dougherty’s supervisor at that time. He said Dougherty was fired because he had not been performing his duties adequately for many months.

Fletcher said he had memos detailing Dougherty’s poor performance dating back to just a few months after Dougherty was hired. Fletcher also said Dougherty had been put on probation and threatened with dismissal back in June, and his work had not improved.

“He just wasn’t doing his job,” Fletcher said. “Any time requested off to perform Reserve duties was always granted.”

Dougherty disagrees. According to the lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, he was fired the day after he asked for time off to report for Reserve duty. The court documents allege Dougherty was threatened with termination because of his military responsibilities, not because he was working badly.

Dougherty is a captain in the Air Force Reserve and has served nearly 21 years in the military.

Dougherty also alleges that Fletcher refused to pay him for any hours he worked on days he was on active duty.

He is suing Fletcher and the center, as well as parent company Life Care Centers of America, Cottesmore Nursing Home and Medical Investors Limited Partnership, which owns the lease on the center’s building.

His lawyer, Beverly Grant, is asking for unspecified damages.

“We believe that anyone who is an enlisted Reserve officer should not be put in the position of being fired because they want to serve their country,” Grant said.

A court date has not yet been set. All involved parties must complete their investigations of the charges before the case can be heard.

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