Kaiser Fires Doctor for Taking Family Leave, He Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kaiser fired a doctor for using sick days to take his pregnant wife to appointments and bond with his newborn daughter, the doctor claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Jason Litak sued Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente International, and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
Litak says he started working at Kaiser in September 2010 as an associate physician. At his orientation, he was told that most associate physicians made partner by the third year unless they had received formal disciplinary write-ups, his complaint states.
Litak consistently received positive performance reviews for two years until he began using sick leave to take his pregnant wife to doctor’s appointments. After his daughter was born in late 2013, he used protected family leave for bonding time until early January 2014, according to the complaint.
Though Kaiser approved his requests for leave, Litak says, it denied him $15,000 in bonuses, saying it was for taking too many sick days.
After he came back from another month of protected leave, the assistant medical director told him “I’ve never seen another employee take so much family leave" and that plaintiff was putting "pressure" on other surgeons because of his decision to take so much family leave time, the complaint states.
A month later, the directors informed him he would not be promoted to partner due to his excessive absences and that, unless he resigned immediately, they would fire him, according to the complaint.
“Plaintiff, acting as a reasonable person, had no choice but to resign” and work as a per diem physician, resulting in a loss of health insurance and other benefits and a pay cut of $13 per hour. A year later, Kaiser fired him from that position too, the complaint states.
Litak claims Kaiser denied him promotions, withheld his bonuses, and fired him in retaliation for taking family leave, “as well as his association with his pregnant wife.”
He seeks an injunction, reimbursement for lost earnings, and special, exemplary, and punitive damages for retaliation, disability discrimination, unfair business practices, and wrongful termination.
He is represented by Joseph Lovretovich of Woodland Hills.