Kaiser Fires Nurse Recovering From Injuries, She Says
ALAMEDA, Calif. (CN) - An emergency room nurse was fired after her doctor said she needed light duty following back and neck injuries, according to her Alameda County Superior Court lawsuit.
Lemia Williams sues Kaiser Permanente and American Mobile Healthcare, Inc. for wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation and disability discrimination, including failure to accommodate or engage in the interactive process under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Williams says she was placed in her position as an emergency room nurse with defendant Kaiser by defendant American Mobile Healthcare, a placement and recruitment agency.
Two months after her placement, Williams was injured when another driver rear-ended her vehicle. She was diagnosed with a cervical strain/sprain of her neck and back. She took one day off and then returned to work, but was undergoing continuing treatment with a chiropractor, according to the action.
About a month later, she was assisting a patient who weighed over 400 pounds and was unable to move on his own, and in the same shift, lifting a patient in cardiac arrest who weighed over 200 pounds, which worsened her injuries, the suit states.
The following morning she woke up in “excruciating pain” in her neck and back and tried to treat herself with heat and ice, with no relief, the suit states. Two days later she went to urgent care and was given a directive from the doctor for light duty until she could be seen by her regular doctor.
When she returned to work and asked for light duty, such as doing triage, which does not require lifting or pushing beds, she was told her contract was cancelled and she had to turn in her badge and leave, Williams says.
Williams asked about filing a workers’ compensation claim and that was also denied because there was no “reportable isolated incident.”
Her recruiter with American Mobile told her that she had to have a full duty clearance from the doctor before she could get another assignment, and that “to have accommodations would be a liability for the company.”
Williams seeks general, special, actual, compensatory and nominal damages, back pay and benefits, interest, penalties and legal costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Daniel Feder, of the Law Offices of Daniel Feder in San Francisco, California.