By Julia Deng
ODESSA - Elisha Washington, 22, was fired Tuesday by Medical Center Hospital and is now taking legal action against her former employers, alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.
"We can confirm that Elisha Washington is no longer a Medical Center Health System employee," MCH representatives said in an emailed statement to NewsWest 9. "However, we are unable to discuss any personnel matters regarding current and former employees."
Washington began working as a Patient Access Representative in the hospital's Registration Department, handling accounts for inpatient and outpatient services, in September 2013.
"When I first started, it was great," she said. "The people were great. The work experience was amazing."
According to Washington, she received no complaints from patients or disciplinary action from supervisors for more than a year.
"I've always been extremely attentive to detail and I never made mistakes," she told NewsWest 9. "I took my job seriously and I loved what I did."
However, that changed in October 2014, after she took several days off for a surgical procedure.
Washington said the manager and supervisor of her department both knew about her medical situation, and were aware she needed time away from work for recovery and follow-up appointments.
One of those appointments - two days after her surgery - was interrupted by a text message calling her in to the hospital.
"I was sitting in the doctor's office [and] my phone rang," she said. "And it was a text message from [our department's manager] saying, 'Hey, can you come in to work? We're busy."
Washington arrived at work around noon, but later took the issue to MCH's Human Resources Department - the first complaint she filed with them - and said "that changed everything" about her relationship with her boss.
"Honestly, she never had a problem with anybody until they go to HR," she said. "When you go to HR, I guess she feels you're questioning her authority and that's offensive to her. When I started to question [her judgment] is when the problems came about."
It was a clear case of retaliation, according to Washington.
She was later written up by her boss for "tardiness" following her medical appointment.
Several weeks later, she was written up again.
Washington claimed it was the result of another medical concern that had forced her to take a day off work.
"My arm was swelling and I was terrified," she said. "I waited and explained to [my supervisors] what was going on, but then I just couldn't wait anymore. I went to Urgent Care and once the doctor had seen me, he immediately sent me to the ER."
Another incident - involving money that went missing from a safe she managed - led to further deterioration of her relationship with her boss.
Washington said she felt "insulted" she was accused of stealing the money in front of her co-workers, and claimed her supervisor never issued her an apology or explanation after the money reappeared in the safe the following day.
A fourth incident ultimately led to Washington's termination on Tuesday.
"She fired me because my shift starts at 5:20," she claimed. "I'm considered late at 5:25. I clocked in at 5:27. So [being] 2 minutes late is why she fired me."
She met with a Midland-based attorney Wednesday and plans to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against Medical Center Health System within "the next few days or weeks."
MCH representatives could not confirm or deny any information Washington provided to NewsWest 9 about the circumstances of her termination.
A spokesperson only said she "is no longer a Medical Center Health System employee."