Social Worker Claims She Was Fired for Sparking Mariah Carey CPS InvestigationS

A social worker claims she was fired by Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center after she refused to "protect the image of a celebrity mother" when she called in a report to the Department of Child and Family Services upon learning that the mom breastfed her premature twins while drinking alcohol and taking medication. The social worker, Mela Ferrer, is suing for wrongful termination, claiming that the hospital feared that her report would deter other celebrities from using their facilities.

The complaint doesn't name Mariah Carey specifically, but she gave birth at UCLA to her twins on April 30, 2011, and the investigation was widely reported in the media after Carey's husband Nick Cannon gave an interview on Piers Morgan Tonight on May 12. He dismissed the report as someone's attempt to make some tabloid cash, saying of the allegations:

It makes no sense. How would a hospital even allow that? It all started where a nurse suggested to my wife that if you drink Guinness or a small amount of Guinness, the dark beer, that the yeast improves breastfeeding. Then they were saying that my wife was drinking beer and all that stuff. It's like people would do anything to conjure up a story.

Ferrer's complaint states:

Some [sic] the medications the celebrity mother was taking were not recommended and/or were contraindicated for use by nursing mothers and/or in combination with alcohol.

After interviewing Carey in her home and spending time with the couple's twins, DCFS ultimately concluded that the report was without merit.

But Ferrer—who was working at the hospital on temporary assignment—says she was "a mandated reporter and was obligated to report the matter to DCFS, which she did on May 10, 2011. She says that she was reprimanded the next day by a hospital supervisor for not consulting anyone before filing the report and was fired on May 12 "under the pretense of not following protocol." Ferrer claims that the hospital did not have any rules or procedures regarding filing complaints to DCFS and, in her complaint, accuses the facility of protecting the reputation of its celebrity clientele over the interest of the infants. She's seeking "punitive damages for wrongful termination, violation of several state laws, breach of confidentiality and/or privacy, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and age discrimination."

Drinking Celebrity Mom Had to Be Reported, Fired Social Worker Says [Courthouse News]