Health authority sues Brandon psychiatric nurse over allegedly defamatory social media posts
A Brandon, Manitoba woman who was a psychiatric nurse is being sued by her former employer over posts on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram calling her colleagues “idiots” and accusing the health authority of killing her patients.
The case comes at a time when legal experts say the number of lawsuits filed over social media posts is growing rapidly.
In her lawsuit filed April 12, the Prairie Mountain Health Authority is seeking a court injunction to restrain the nurse from posting defamatory statements about her former employer and have her cut from existing positions.
Ten employees of the Western Manitoba Regional Health Authority are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They allege that the nurse posted false, malicious and defamatory messages about them and the employer.
Registration to practice as a psychiatric nurse in Manitoba was suspended on January 12. The Regulatory College’s website shows that she later voluntarily relinquished her registration, effective Jan. 17.
The reason for the suspension is not listed on Brandon’s wife’s list on the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba’s website. College registrar Laura Panteluk said she could not speak to a specific case.
CBC News is not naming those involved in the lawsuit due to mental health allegations. The defendant did not file a defense and the allegations were not proven in court.
Staff described as “lazy, incompetent”: lawsuit
The psychiatric nurse worked at the Brandon Regional Health Center, according to the statement filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg.
The lawsuit refers to the content of four videos that the defendant posted on its social media accounts.
In January, she posted a video to her TikTok, Facebook and Instagram accounts that called some of the complainants “dumb, horrible nurses” who don’t care about patients, according to the complaint.
He alleges that the nurse used defamatory words to say that some of the other employees were “lazy, incompetent, unintelligent and don’t care about the [Brandon Regional Health Centre] the patients.”
The claim alleges that in the video, the nurse said she was bullied at work and that a manager – who is one of the complainants – questioned her sanity in a disciplinary meeting, which which forced her to take sick leave.
The claim also alleges that in another video posted by the nurse, she said that staff at the Brandon Health Center “make fun of homeless people” and that the health center “protects abusers” and “kills its victims.” patient”.
The court document alleges the nurse said in a video that she intended to determine the identities of staff members working on a particular day and then post their names in a video on her TikTok account in an attempt to cause them to lose their jobs.
“As a result of the publication of the defamatory statements, the plaintiffs were ridiculed, alienated and scorned and suffered damage to their reputations,” both personally and professionally, the complaint alleges.
He says they suffered “embarrassment, humiliation, fear and anxiety”.
The nurse refused to remove two of the videos from her social media accounts, according to the complaint, further compounding the damage done to the plaintiffs.
CBC’s attempts to contact the defendant were unsuccessful.
Prairie Mountain Health communications coordinator Blaine Kraushaar said the health authority had no comment on the matter.
Social media lawsuits are becoming more common: lawyer
Toronto libel lawyer Howard Winkler says the number of lawsuits over social media posts has increased “exponentially”.
“It’s becoming more and more common as people become more comfortable with their use of social media,” said Winkler, who is not involved in the Manitoba case.
Rampant expressions of opinions and anger found on social media can be very damaging, he said.
But social media users should be aware that ordinary defamation laws apply to such posts, Winkler said, meaning they could face financial damages in court.
“So people have to be very careful when posting these kinds of messages.”
A person’s social media footprint can also affect their future employment prospects, whether their criticisms are true or not.
“If someone is applying for a job and the employer searches social media and sees that someone has had a dispute with an employer before, that may be a red flag for an employer. that there is a risk associated with hiring this person,” Winkler mentioned.