A former beautician at the York County Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center who claimed she was fired for speaking out about asbestos has reached a settlement with nursing home officials and the county.
The county commissioners Wednesday agreed to pay Mary Ann Gruzs $100,000. Gruzs had filed a federal lawsuit last fall seeking compensatory damages in excess of $350,000, with interest, plus costs and reasonable attorney fees.
In the lawsuit, Gruzs said she noticed in May 2005 that the salon's floor tiles were breaking and becoming discolored. She said she asked to have the floor repaired but those requests went unanswered for nearly a year.
According to the lawsuit, Gruzs believed the tiles contained asbestos after speaking with a maintenance worker at the Springettsbury Township facility.
She said no work to mitigate the asbestos risk was done when the old tiles were removed. Gruzs asked for an air quality test in the salon once the repairs were completed, but she was told it was not needed, according to the lawsuit.
She then took the removed tiles to an outside laboratory, she said, which reportedly found hazardous asbestos levels in the tiles and mastic.
The county said Gruzs was fired because she failed to call in absent on three consecutive days beginning June 6, 2006 - a claim Gruzs contested.
"We both remain loyal to our positions," Gruzs' attorney John J.
County Solicitor Michael Flannelly said the county agreed to the settlement to minimize defense costs and risks. It does not indicate the county was at fault, he said.