Ergonomic Chair Request Got Injured Worker Canned, She Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman claims Kaiser fired her after going on medical leave for back problems and asking for an ergonomic chair, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Brenda Martin sued Kaiser Permanente and several Kaiser subsidiaries, alleging disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, refusal to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process, and wrongful termination.
Martin, who was 52 when she was fired, started working for Kaiser in June 2014 as a compliance auditor. About a week after she successfully finished her 90-day probationary period, she was taken to urgent care by two of her co-workers for back pain and put on protected medical leave by her doctor, according to the complaint.
But Kaiser refused to accommodate her when she came back to work on modified duty, Martin says, and threatened to fire her if she did not return to work without restriction.
When Martin came back, Kaiser told her she was being put back on probation for attendance issues. At the end of her probation, she received a below average performance review that again cited attendance issues as the reason of her low score, according to the complaint.
Soon after her second probationary period ended, her doctor wrote her a letter stating that, due to her back pain, Martin would benefit from having an ergonomic chair. Two days after she submitted her request, Kaiser fired her, Martin claims.
She seeks reinstatement, compensatory damages, including past and future lost wages and benefits, and exemplary and punitive damages.
She is represented by Reza Mirroknian of Sherman Oaks.