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Yardley v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC

Tennessee Supreme Court
470 S.W.3d 800 (2015)


Facts

Kighwaunda Yardley (plaintiff) worked as a housekeeping aide at a Tennessee hospital. In 2010, Yardley was injured on the job and began receiving workers’-compensation benefits. Yardley received medical treatment for her injury for over two years and performed light-duty work for a different group at the hospital until she could be released to full-duty work. On January 1, 2012, the hospital entered a contract with Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC (defendant) for the company to provide housekeeping services for the hospital. The company agreed to interview the hospital’s housekeeping employees and decide whether to hire the employees to continue in their positions. The company did not initially interview Yardley because she was still on light duty. When Yardley was released to full-duty work, she expressed an interest in returning to her housekeeping position. The hospital referred Yardley to the company. But when Yardley spoke to the company’s Division Vice President, Michael Cox, he allegedly informed her that the company would not hire anyone who was receiving workers’-compensation benefits. Cox also wrote an email to the company in which he advised against hiring Yardley, noting her history of receiving workers’-compensation benefits and suggesting that hiring her would lead to a workers’-compensation claim against the company. The company did not hire Yardley, and she sued the company in federal district court. The district court certified a question to the Tennessee Supreme Court regarding whether Yardley had a cause of action against the company under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lee, C.J.)

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