Former employees of Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital say they were wrongfully accused of accessing Jussie Smollett’s personal medical files, and were fired on the spot earlier this week without any explanation.
The story broke on Wednesday when the former medical assistants and administrative workers of the hospital spoke with Dana Kozlov with CBS 2 and explained they’d been terminated and were not given the opportunity to defend themselves.
CBS 2 Chicago reported:
“One of the nurses said it was a misunderstanding, and claimed she never even accessed Smollett’s chart, but she was fired last week and believes many other nurses and staffers were fired for the same reason.
The nurse said she was called in at the end of her shift last Tuesday, fired on the spot and escorted out of the hospital.
She said she wasn’t asked any questions and never had a chance to offer an explanation. She said she never accessed the actor’s chart, but simply scrolled past it when looking for another patient’s name.
She’s appealing, and believes others may have been fired for simply scrolling past the name as well.”
Several employees of Northwestern who were terminated this week have acknowledged that Smollett’s name may have appeared on their computer screens, but only after they had been searching for other patients, not in searching for Smollett’s personal medical files.
One employee said she did a partial search for the Empire actor’s name when another employee asked her to, but never clicked on Smollett’s file and she doesn’t understand why simply having the actor’s name on her computer screen would result in termination.
A separate customer service specialist who had worked for Northwestern for over 20 years said she had authorization to access Smollett’s files, but had been fired for what the hospital said was unauthorized access, which baffles the employee.
“Long as there is a release on file that gives me authorization to go into that patient’s chart to retrieve the records that they’re asking for and release them, and I had that authorization in hand, no question about it,” she said.
“I think because he’s famous, he’s a known celebrity, that’s why they made a big deal out of it,” she added.
Some employees have decided to appeal their termination from the hospital, according to CBS 2 Chicago.