Superiors Revealed Her Health Status, Kaiser Employee Says
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kaiser fired a nurse after she complained that her supervisors had revealed her mental health status to a co-worker, according to a recently filed suit.
Maria Salgado sues Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente International, and Geneva Gregorio Buan, in Los Angeles County Superior Court for Fair Employment and Housing Act (FMLA) violations, disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process or provide reasonable accommodations, retaliation and harassment.
When a co-worker began calling Salgado “psycho” and “psychotic,” she knew her supervisor, defendant Buan, or her assistant, had revealed her private mental health status, as they were the only ones who knew about her anxiety and depression, Salgado said. The harassment from the co-worker only added to the on-going stress Salgado already experienced from Buan, who regularly objected to her need to take time off work to see her doctors for her diabetes, a foot injury, and her mental health issues, the suit alleges.
Buan gave Salgado a written Level One discipline for calling out on short notice, according to the action, which is in alignment with a Kaiser policy that nurses must provide more than 24 hour notice if they are going to be sick or need medical leave. The policy is itself discriminatory “for disabled employees and for employees on intermittent FMLA who don’t know, nor can they plan, when they will have difficulty because of their disability,” the action states.
Salgado said her own Kaiser doctors were aware of the stress caused by Buan’s constant harassment and they increased her FMLA medical leave to eight days a month. “Evidently other workers experienced the same and the union had an all department meeting to address the employees’ complaints,” the action notes. After the meeting, Salgado said she was the only one called into Buan’s office and berated for speaking out in the meeting though others had done so as well, and the harassment and discriminatory behavior continued.
After the co-worker harassed Salgado in front of Buan and her assistant and nothing was done about it, Salgado said she complained to her union. According to the action, Buan retaliated by demanding that Salgado be fired for three tardies, one for being two minutes late, one for being three minutes late, and one for being eight minutes late. However, these tardies were caused by Kaiser’s policy of rounding employee clock in times up or down to the nearest hour, Salgado says.
Salgado seeks treble economic, actual, general, and exemplary and punitive damages for her lawsuit brought due to disability, along with interest and legal costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Kevin C. Boyle in Calabasas, California.