Pee Dee man claims he was fired after speaking up for employees’ benefits

Pee Dee

MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A Pee Dee healthcare worker says he’s out of a job after speaking up for his staff.

Darryl Radford says he was fired from an external vendor that was contracted at MUSC Health in Marion. He claims he was fired over the summer because he spoke up for his staff, who he says weren’t getting access to their benefits.

“I’m going to stand behind my staff,” Radford said while protesting by the hospital. “I’m going to make sure they know that they have someone fighting on their team and HHS- Hospital Housekeeping Systems knows that somebody is paying attention to the way they’re treating a base of employees, over 90 percent of which are minority.”

HHS directly employed environmental services workers for MUSC Health in Marion.

He said employees under him tried taking earned, paid time off when they heard the hours would not transfer over to a new company taking the contract.

“But couldn’t take it because we were in the middle of a pandemic and they were deemed essential workers,” he said. “HHS not only denied them the opportunity to take their PTO but totally took their PTO from them all together.”

Radford now has legal representation.

His lawyer, Jack Cohoon of Burnette Shutt McDaniel in Columbia, says he’s seen a wide range of workplace issues during COVID.

“There’s been a number of different cases that have come across our desk due to COVID-19,” Cohoon said. “Frequent issues involve concerns about workplace safety, retaliation for raising concerns about workplace safety, issues regarding leave.”

Cohoon added that many of the concerns come from front line workers.

“Who have direct contact with the public or whose job functions put them close to people with covid-19, like hospital workers,” he said.

Radford said his staff deserved to be treated better.

“For them to not be able to be compensated properly for the work they’re doing in consideration with the pandemic is deplorable in my opinion,” he said.

Cohoon said a charge of employment discrimination is pending with the EEOC and a suit against HHS is expected to be filed next week.

Radford said he was frustrated with the hospital because he says it didn’t intervene enough to help.

HHS did not return a request for comment.

MUSC Health said it couldn’t provide specifics because this doesn’t deal with its direct employees. The hospital system did provide this statement, though:

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is committed to employment policies and practices that are in compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and that affirm its commitment to fairness and equity. This situation involves an external vendor that directly employed all of the environmental services team members who were supporting MUSC Health in Marion. MUSC is unable to address this specific situation; however, we can state that at MUSC, we strive to respect the values and uphold the dignity of all members of our community.

Count on News13 for updates.

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