Kaiser Discriminated Against Courier, He Claims
1-30-2015 23:35:00

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Kaiser discriminated against a black, older courier with a back injury, he claims in U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Portland Division.

     David Barrett sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest dba Kaiser Permanente for race, disability and age discrimination.
     Barrett says he worked as a courier from 1989 to 2013.
     On Nov. 1, 2012, an employee at non-party Oregon Health Science University (OSHU) “complained to Kaiser that Mr. Barrett had acted unprofessionally during a specimen pick-up at an OHSU lab,” the complaint states.
     Barrett claims he had been “doing the splits as a stretching exercise for a previous back injury.”
     But Kaiser put Barrett on a corrective status, first for “comments and/or actions that were inappropriate towards another party creating a hostile environment,” and then for “generalized performance concerns,” the complaint states.
     Later that same year, Barrett took a medical leave due to work-related stress and his back injury, followed by a second leave for back surgery, according to the complaint.
     While Barrett was on leave the second time, “Kaiser informed Mr. Barrett that his 90 days of leave with job protection had expired and they could post and fill his job,” the complaint states.
     He signed a resignation agreement, then later rescinded it and Kaiser changed his status to terminated, according to the complaint.
     During his time at Kaiser, Barrett served as a union shop steward and helped another black employee with a race-related grievance against Kaiser, he says. Barrett contends he and the other black employee were treated differently because of their race.
     Barrett contends Kaiser violated disability discrimination laws by disciplining him for stretching during downtime and firing him while he was on medical leave.
     Barrett also claims he and other older couriers were held to a higher standard than younger couriers. Barrett is 60, he says.
     David Barrett seeks $250,000 in economic damages, $100,000 in non-economic damages, prejudgment interest, attorney fees, costs and a jury trial. He is represented by William J. Macke and Cristen Campbell of William J. Macke & Associates in Portland.