Nurse Fired After Discrimination Complaints, Suit Charges
12-20-2018 10:32:00

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser supervisors fired, and filed charges to the nursing board against, a Mexican-American nurse who complained about their discriminatory actions, according to her U.S. District Court, Central District, lawsuit.

Erica Castro-Ramos sued Kaiser Permanente, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Dennis Lake and Tammy Bresnahan for wrongful termination in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act and the California Government Code for race and national origin discrimination, retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, hostile work environment and harassment, and failure to prevent workplace discrimination.

Castro-Ramos says she worked as a registered nurse for Kaiser for 15 years, and was fired for “negligence and incompetence, which has never been used to describe her performance before.” Her yearly evaluations were “always ‘Expert classification,’” the suit states.

Her new supervisors, defendants Lake and Bresnahan, both white, made false statements about her. She was told to resign “and no reports would be sent to the BRN [Board of Registered Nursing],” according to the action. 

Under Lake and Bresnahan, “excessive supervision and bad-faith disciplinary write-ups were part of a pattern of a racially hostile environment toward Mexican-American employees,” the suit says. Castro-Ramos says she made complaints regarding the discriminatory behavior.

Castro-Ramos refused to resign and was subsequently demoted and placed on probation by the nursing board, though she was told she could still work as a nurse. Then she was placed on investigatory suspension after her former boyfriend, who had been fired by Kaiser, accused her of sexual harassment and misconduct. He was himself fired for sexual harassment and for soliciting in the workplace, according to the action.

The investigator concluded the former boyfriend was trying to “drag [her] down with him,” the suit alleges. 

Castro-Ramos says she was again told that if she resigned Kaiser would drop the allegations. She says she again refused and Lake and Bresnahan made further reports to the nursing board about her. They also continued to harass her with enhanced scrutiny and increased work load, interrogating her in front of other employees and placing requirements on her that other employees did not have, the suit says.

Two “confidential” complaints were made against Castro-Ramos claiming she had sexual relationships with two doctors. “It was subsequently established that no such relationships existed before, during or even after her employment at Kaiser,” the action states.

Castro-Ramos seeks a permanent injunction reinstating her as a full-time nurse at Kaiser, a declaration that Kaiser violated her rights, compensatory and punitive damages, and legal costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Gloria Dredd Haney of the Law Offices of Gloria Dredd Haney in Orange, California.