Fired For Being a Good Dad, Man Says
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CN) – A father claims Kaiser fired him for taking time off to care for his sick son, in a San Bernardino County Court lawsuit.
Gabriel E. Medina sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Xabitos Inc., alleging disability discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination.
Medina says he had worked at Kaiser for over 26 years as a janitor with excellent performance reviews when he applied for intermittent leave in 2012 to care for his son, who had asthma and needed to use a large nebulizer.
About 10 months later he applied for leave for his own health condition, worsening back pain due to scoliosis.
A few months after their primary care doctors submitted paperwork on Medina’s and his son’s behalf, Medina’s wife called him at work, saying she could not give their son his nebulizer treatment because she had a high fever and serious illness that was getting worse. Concerned for his family, Medina immediately left work to give his son the medication and check on his wife, according to the complaint.
When he came back to work the next day, his managers and union supervisor confronted him and demanded to know why he left work the day before. Though Medina explained what had happened and pointed out that he had medical leave to care for his son, he was put on administrative leave effective from that day, the complaint states.
Almost three-and-a-half months later, Medina says, he was summoned to another meeting and forced to explain himself. During that meeting, his supervisors accused him of time card fraud for leaving the building on several occasions. Though he explained that he was simply going outside to do his duties, such as cleaning the parking lot and taking out trash, his supervisors ignored him and fired him.
Getting fired for no reason has made Medina suffer embarrassment, humiliation, and mental anguish, as well as a substantial loss in earnings and retirement benefits, according to the complaint.
Medina seeks compensatory economic damages, including losses incurred seeking other employment, non-economic damages for emotional distress, statutory and civil penalties, and punitive damages, plus court costs and fees.
He is represented by Jeffrey Rager of Torrance.