Hassled for Depression and Forced to Resign, Worker Claims
PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A nursing assistant claims Kaiser fired her after she took medical leave for depression, in a $750,000 employment lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Tammie M. Foster sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest dba Kaiser Permanente and NW Permanente on May 17, alleging disability discrimination and wrongful termination.
Foster says she worked for Kaiser from 2007 until Kaiser fired her on May 19, 2016.
In early 2014, Foster started taking protected FMLA leave to treat her depression. Initially Kaiser accommodated her and approved her leave, but two years later her supervisor started complaining about her attendance and pressuring her to work more, according to the complaint.
Though Foster explained that she was taking protected leave, her supervisor kept threatening to write her up for attendance problems and made offensive remarks about her treatment, too, such as saying “It’s hard to keep shifts covered with people out for depression or whatever,” the complaint states.
Things came to a head that May, when Foster told her supervisor she intended to take more time off for intensive outpatient therapy. The next Monday, her supervisor forced her to take a drug test, then called her into a meeting and bullied her into signing a settlement to resign for allegedly failing the test, according to the complaint.
“Plaintiff became exhausted and distraught and finally relented and signed the settlement and release agreement. … After plaintiff signed the agreement, defendant offered to escort plaintiff to Brookside Center, defendant’s mental health facility at its Sunyside campus, for inpatient treatment.
“Plaintiff indicated she would rather go home, and defendant insisted that someone else drive her home because of the obvious impairments of plaintiff’s mental faculties after four hours of intense pressure from defendant’s human resources personnel,” the complaint states.
Foster seeks $250,000 in economic damages for lost wages and benefits, and $500,000 in noneconomic damages for the depression and anxiety she suffered from losing her job.
She is represented by attorney of William J. Macke.