Kaiser Fired Woman for Being Pregnant, She Says
(CN) - Kaiser fired a woman for taking breaks and missing days of work while pregnant, she claims in an Alameda County Superior Court complaint.
Christine Mendy was hired by Kaiser as a surgical technician at its Vallejo Hospital on June 11, 2007. She became pregnant in October 2011, requiring frequent rest breaks because of complications with the pregnancy.
On March 8, 2012, Kaiser supervisors required she attend a disciplinary meeting for certain absences, which were excused by her doctor. She later received warning letters and attended investigatory meetings after disclosing that her physician had signed a Certification of Healthcare Provider for Family Leave, indicating she would miss several days of work in the coming year.
Mendy’s doctor described her pregnancy as “high risk” and said that she “is concerned about her current pregnancy given her complicated medical history … and given that her pain is disabling at times.”
She was subsequently denied time during her shifts for “lactation” purposes and her timecard was altered without her consent, in retaliation, even though other nursing mothers in her department were not required to “clock-in and clock-out for breast pumping.”
Mendy was fired in October 2013 despite the fact her physician had signed a Family and Medical Leave Act Healthcare Provider form to cover her intermittent days off and need for accommodations.
“Plaintiff found that her termination was discriminatory, retaliatory and the result of an improper process,” the complaint states. “Defendant committed the abusive actions herein maliciously, fraudulently, and oppressive[ly], with the wrongful intention of injuring plaintiff and from an improper and evil motive amounting to malice, and in conscious and reckless disregard of her rights as an employee.”
Mendy sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for disability and pregnancy discrimination and retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. She seeks general, special, punitive and exemplary damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Mendy is represented by Spencer Smith and Dow Patten of Smith Patton, in San Francisco.