Ex-DHEC employee alleges slander in new TB-related lawsuit - FOX Carolina 21

Ex-DHEC employee alleges slander in new TB-related lawsuit

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NINETY SIX, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A new lawsuit has been filed by a former employee against the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control stemming from a tuberculosis outbreak in Greenwood County.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Shea Rabley, who up until the end of May was the state director of DHEC's tuberculosis office.

Rabley claims she was slandered by DHEC, and more specifically, state director Catherine Templeton in statements made after the tuberculosis outbreak became public.

Rabley said she, along with other DHEC staffers, followed DHEC's tuberculosis contact investigation "to the letter," and was used as a scapegoat by both Templeton and DHEC in what Templeton called a "botched" investigation.

In the lawsuit, Rabley claims she was terminated by DHEC and had filed a grievance in the case, but had later reached an agreement with DHEC allowing her to retire from her position, with the understanding that the agreement would remain confidential.

Rabley claimed Templeton violated that agreement in interviews with the media, citing an article from The State newspaper.

"Templeton made it clear in her publications that (Rabley) was one of the employees she had 'fired' because of the TB investigation in Greenwood County," according to Rabley's lawsuit.

This lawsuit is one of several against DHEC as a result of the tuberculosis investigation.

Former DHEC staffers Malinda Martin, Latrinia Richard and Anne Ashley have all filed wrongful termination lawsuits against their former employer, claiming they were unjustly fired for their handling of the tuberculosis outbreak. In a response to those lawsuits, DHEC said they were fired for not following protocol.

In addition, parents of students at Ninety Six Primary School who were exposed to TB have also filed suit against DHEC and Greenwood School District 52.

DHEC said dozens of students and staff at the school were exposed to TB at the school after a janitor at the school became sick with the germ.

That janitor is still receiving medical testing at a secure hospital, according to DHEC.

DHEC said Tuesday they will answer the Rabley lawsuit in an appropriate legal filing.

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