Posted On: August 18, 2008 by Siegler & Traub, L.L.C.

Former UMDNJ Staffer Files Whistleblower Lawsuit

Dr. Regina Cunningham, Chief Nursing Officer of UMDNJ's Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is accused of awarding fraudulent continuing nursing education units to a fellow nurse in a lawsuit we filed on behalf of Dr. Cunningham's former Staff Assistant, April Allridge, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County. In the case entitled Allridge v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Docket No. MID-L-006554-08, Ms. Allridge alleges that after she reported her supervisor's conduct to UMDNJ's Office of Corporate Compliance, Dr. Cunningham took retaliatory measures against her, eventually forcing her to resign.

Nursing laws and regulations require nurses to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses every two years, and it is unlawful to falsely swear that the continuing education requirement has been met. According to Ms. Allridge's lawsuit, Dr. Cunningham directed Ms. Allridge to issue 15 continuing education credits to a nurse who did not earn them. Ms. Allridge alleges that when she refused to issue the credits, Dr. Cunningham stated that she would issue them herself.

Ms. Allridge claims that after she reported this incident to UMDNJ's Office of Corporate Compliance, Dr. Cunningham began isolating, marginalizing and targeting her for hostile treatment. According to the Complaint, Ms. Allridge's work environment worsened in the Fall of 207 after Dr. Cunningham hired two employees to supervise Ms. Allridge. Ms. Allridge claims that in May 2008, one of these individuals confided in her that Dr. Cunningham had instructed the supervisors and staff to create a hostile environment towards Ms. Allridge. Ms. Allridge claims that this individual showed her written evidence of Dr. Cunningham's plan to harass her and terminate her employment. Once Ms. Allridge saw these documents, she concluded that her employment had been terminated, and she resigned.

Ms. Allridge did the right thing by reporting her supervisor's conduct. Unfortunately, UMDNJ did the wrong thing by targeting her for harassment and termination.

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