BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lisa Magin, a former VA Medical Supply Technician tried to do the right thing for the veterans at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, but it cost her a good government job, her medical benefits, and her 4-year ordeal with the VA has been a strain on her family.
“It has been hell, I almost lost my home,” said Magin, speaking out for the first time since an administrative judge ordered the VA to reinstate her, last week.
“We haven’t had any of our medical taken care of. My eyes, I need a new prescription so I could see,” and Magin said her children have gone without important dental care.
Magin worked in the VA’s Sterile Processing Service, which is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing medical, surgical, and dental tools. Lisa reported co-workers taking shortcuts, or skipping basic rules, but for trying to do the right thing, Lisa was fired.
Last week, an administrative judge for the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board ruled Lisa had engaged in protected whistleblower activity, and was fired because of it. The judge ordered her reinstatement effective to the date she was terminated three years ago.
“It has just been hell, but on the positive note, it brought me closer to God, so it was worth it,” said Magin, and despite all she has been through insists she would do it all again to protect the veterans.
James Carney has been representing Magin in her battle with the VA and said, “She was really abused, really suffered. Her family suffered.”
Carney said Magin is also taking on the VA on a second front, with the U.S. Equal Empolyment Opportunity Commission, accusing the medical center of discriminating against her due to disability.
“That statutory appeal was filed because of the hostile work environment she endured, the discrimination for the denying of the accommodation. That has all been addressed with the EEOC.”
Under the judge’s order Magin is entitled to all of her back pay–with interest–and benefits, going back to 2013. The Buffalo VA has withheld comment on the ruling, but a spokesperson has said, they have made improvements in the medical center’s Sterile Processing Service.
The VA has a month to appeal the decision.