Kaiser Fires Nurse in Retaliation, She Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kaiser fired a nurse for taking medical leave, complaining about her husband’s medical care, and for being Hispanic, according to her lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Sandra T. Lira sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Southern California Permanente Medical Group for employment discrimination on the basis of disability and race/national origin, associational discrimination, constructive termination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, and violations of the Federal Employment and Housing Act, as well as violations of the California Labor Code, Family Rights Act, and Health and Safety Code.
Lira, a registered nurse, was hired by Kaiser in 2008 and worked for them until 2017, when she was constructively fired, according to the action.
In September 2016, Lira says her husband became seriously ill and she took California Family Rights Act leave to care for him. According to Lira, the medical care Kaiser was providing her husband was substandard, and she made “frequent” oral and written complaints to the Kaiser defendants, as well as to the Department of Health.
Lira’s husband died in December 2016, and she then took medical leave for “severe depression,” the suit states, and was released back to work in March 2017, with no limitations.
However, on her return, Lira says she had a new supervisor, “who was Filipino.” Lira says the supervisor treated her and other Hispanic employees differently due to their race/national origin.
According to the action, Lira was written up on pretextual charges shortly after her return from medical leave and given a notice of termination. “Plaintiff was told by the employer defendants, after receiving the notice of termination, that if she resigned she was eligible for rehire. This was not true,” the action states. “Plaintiff resigned and was thereby constructively terminated.”
Lira seeks damages for past and future lost employment and benefits and for medical costs and services, general damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and legal costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Michael F. Baltaxe of Sottile Baltaxe in Westlake Village, California, and by Charles T. Mathews of The Mathews Law Firm in Arcadia, California.