A Bloomer woman placed on leave from Marshfield Clinic has the opportunity to avoid a felony conviction for demanding a $200,000 payment from the clinic.
Erica R. Erickson threatened to go to the media concerning patients’ rights violations she believed were happening at the clinic, authorities said.
Erickson, 45, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Eau Claire County Court to a felony count of threatening to communicate derogatory information.
As part of a one-year deferred agreement with prosecutors, the charge will be dismissed if Erickson pays a $250 fine, performs 80 hours of community service, writes a letter of apology to the clinic and commits no new crimes.
Erickson’s attorney, George Miller of Eau Claire, said Erickson cares deeply about patient rights “but she recognizes that was a very wrong way to go about that.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Eau Claire police received a call Oct. 23 from human resources officials at Marshfield Clinic regarding Erickson, who had been employed as a social worker in Eau Claire since June 4.
The clinic learned in October that Erickson’s social work license had been suspended for several years for fraternizing with a patient.
This information had not been disclosed to Marshfield Clinic during the application process before Erickson was hired.
Based on the nondisclosure, Erickson was placed on unpaid administrative leave while her credentials were verified.
Erickson responded by sending a text to her boss indicating she wanted a separation agreement from the clinic.
Without an agreement, she said, she would contact a local television station and the state regarding violation of patients’ rights.
Erickson sent a proposed agreement to the clinic in October.
In summary, Erickson demanded that she keep the $6,000 signing bonus she received when she was hired.
Erickson also demanded that she and her family continue to receive medical, dental and life insurance from the clinic until Jan. 30, 2020.
Erickson demanded positive job references and a one-time payment of $200,000. She also demanded that a friend be allowed to retrieve her personal property from her desk.
Police contacted Erickson, who admitted to sending the separation agreement and stipulating numerous things she wanted Marshfield Clinic to provide her.
Erickson claimed there were no actual threats but admitted she told the clinic she would contact the media in regards to patient issues.