Investigation into Aurora Behavioral Healthcare-Santa Rosa, LLC and Signature Healthcare Services, LLC

Re: Systemic Labor Code Violations Affecting Hundreds of Employees, Alleged in Lawsuit Teresa Brooke v. Aurora Behavioral Healthcare-Santa Rosa, LLC and Signature Healthcare Services, LLC; Sonoma County Superior Court Case No. SCV 261926

September 11, 2019

We are workers’ rights lawyers pursuing a Private Attorney General Act enforcement action against Aurora Santa Rosa and Signature Healthcare for California Labor Code violations occurring from April 2016 to the present. In this whistleblower lawsuit, our client, Plaintiff Teresa Brooke, is seeking an award of monetary penalties on behalf of Aurora/Signature employees and the State of California. In addition, she seeks what is known as “injunctive” relief: an order directing Aurora/Signature to change its business practices to address the alleged violations and ensure patient and worker safety going forward. Ms. Brooke also claims that she was illegally fired for her actions in opposition to Aurora/Signature’s practices—including (i) trying to limit patient admissions because of understaffing concerns and (ii) reporting related safety issues to the California Department of Public Health.

The lawsuit potentially affects all employees from April 2016 to present. The case is currently set for trial in January 2020.

To further our investigation and preparation for trial, we wish to speak with you regarding your experiences at Aurora Santa Rosa. Please note that it would be against the law for Aurora Santa Rosa or Signature to retaliate against you for contacting us.

We are investigating these problems, among other matters:

  • Understaffing of the patient units (too few registered/licensed nurses, mental health workers, and other staff to meet patient needs and prevent adverse incidents);
  • Unsafe working conditions caused by understaffing and by other issues creating undue risks of injury and illness to nurses and staff members;
  • Failure to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program;
  • Meal and rest break violations, in which employees had late, short, or missed breaks; were discouraged from claiming and reporting such breaks; and were not fully paid for all late, short, or missed breaks;
  • >Not enough suitable seating to complete paperwork/charting at nurses’ stations; and
  • Illegal confidentiality policies and practices that restrict employees from reporting to government entities and from engaging in other advocacy on behalf of patients and staff.

Defendants Aurora Santa Rosa and Signature Healthcare Services deny that the facility has been understaffed at any time, deny the existence of other violations, deny that their practices have actually harmed employees, and deny any and all legal liability. They seek to avoid paying monetary penalties and to avoid any changes to their policies and practices.

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to share your experiences or observations.

Sincerely,

Attorneys for Plaintiff Teresa Brooke

  • Xinying Valerian, Esq.
    Valerian Law, PC
    1604 Solano Ave, Suite D
    Albany, CA
    xinying@valerian.law
  • Qiaojing (Ella) Zheng, Esq.
    Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
    111 Sutter Street, Suite 975
    San Francisco, CA
    qzheng@sanfordheisler.com

Email: AuroraLawsuit@sanfordheisler.com
Main phone line: 415-795-2020

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