Kaiser Refused to Accommodate Disability, Radiologist Claims
2-13-2015 23:39:00

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CN) - A Kaiser radiologist’s managers did not believe she really needed accommodation, despite her doctor’s note, she claims in Solano County Superior Court.

     Dongmi Surh sued The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente International for violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Family Rights Act and the California Labor Code.

     According to Surh’s lawsuit, she had worked as a radiologist for Kaiser since October 2002.

     In 2011 and 2012, she began to have pain in her right arm, and in 2012 her doctor told her she needed workplace modifications, according to the complaint. The necessary modifications included less typing and mousing, it says.

     At first, Kaiser accommodated Surh by putting her solely on the mammography rotation, which involved more patient contact and less computer time, according to the complaint.

     In July, 2013, Surh’s doctor recommended shoulder surgery, followed by three months’ leave for recuperation. She had the operation on Aug. 8 and came back to work in late November, with the same doctor-recommended work modifications as before, it says.

     But Surh’s managers did not put her back on mammography-only duties, although they had done so for seven months before her surgery, she says. Instead, they put her into the general radiology rotation, which involved more typing and mousing than her doctor had recommended.

     Surh says she met with the Chief of Radiology and a Human Resources representative to discuss the situation.

     “Defendants’ representatives informed plaintiff that, despite her doctor’s written job restrictions, they did not believe she actually required modified duty,” the complaint states.

     Surh says she provided “clarification” from her doctor, but the accommodations still were not forthcoming.

     “Despite her repeated requests for further information, defendants refused to inform plaintiff why this accommodation was no longer possible,” the complaint states.

     Surh tried to do the non-modified work she was assigned, while making repeated requests for accommodation, according to the complaint. In late April she had another meeting with the Chief of Radiology and Human Resources representative, this time including the Physician-In-Chief, it says. Two days later, she received the May work schedule and she was not on it. When she complained, the Physician-In-Chief “informed her that ‘all’ radiologists were required to work a full day schedule, work on multiple types of rotations and to take call, and that as such defendants had placed plaintiff on ‘sick’ leave,” the complaint states.

     As of the Dec. 23, 2014 filing date of the lawsuit, Surh had not been put back on the work schedule, she says.

     Dongmi Surh seeks injunctive relief, restoral to comparable employment, general, special, actual, compensatory, nominal and punitive damages, costs of suit including attorneys’ fees, penalties for failure to provide personnel and wage records as required by law, pre- and post-judgment interest and a jury trial. She is represented by Anne Costin of Costin Law in San Francisco.