Bosses Said Woman Was “Too Old,” She Claims
1-22-2019 12:14:00

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser bosses told a woman she was “too old” for a housekeeping position, she claims in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Felisha Grigsby sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and four supervisors – Debra Newman, Jenny Kitts, Gloria Heffington and Phelinna Davis – for Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) harassment based on age, retaliation based on violations of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and FEHA, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. Grigsby also sued Kaiser for FEHA discrimination and discrimination based on FMLA and CFRA use.

According to Grigsby’s lawsuit, she started working at a Kaiser call center in 2002 and applied for a transfer to the Hospital Environmental Services (EVS) department as a housekeeper in January 2017.

After Kaiser offered Grigsby the new position, defendant supervisor Newman had her do a “walk-through” or “preview” of the duties.

“When plaintiff was provided the preview, she was told by Newman that it was so plaintiff could ‘see what you’re getting yourself into.’ No other employee ever received a preview designed to intimidate and discourage them from working at EVS. Newman brought up plaintiff’s age stating that ‘this is hard work’ and that plaintiff was ‘too old’ for the position. Newman discussed plaintiff’s age with other employees in a negative manner. When plaintiff came to the office, approximately three male supervisors and Kitts approached plaintiff about her confidence in plaintiff’s ability to perform the required EVS tasks,” the complaint states.

The three male supervisors are not named as parties in the complaint. Kitts is a defendant.

“Plaintiff responded to the supervisors saying, ‘Even though Debra (Newman) thinks I’m too old for the job, there are others who are older in there,’” the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)

“Kitts repeated the age discriminatory sentiments of Newman to the group saying that other older employees in the housekeeping division ‘haven’t been sitting behind a desk for 15 years.’ This was a direct, discriminatory statement about plaintiff’s age,” the complaint states.

Grigsby claims she was demoted and sent back to her call center position because Newman and Kitts believed she was too old for the housekeeping position, and because she took a sick day.

“Newman then accused plaintiff of being ‘disrespectful’ simply because she missed work when ill. Plaintiff explained to Newman that the day she missed was from an ongoing FMLA issue. Newman then illegally demanded that plaintiff reveal her FMLA issue; plaintiff declined and Newman then admonished plaintiff for not disclosing her FMLA issue prior thereto. Plaintiff refused to disclose her FMLA issue,” the complaint states.

Grigsby complained to human resources and her union shop steward, and eventually was able to transfer to the EVS department, according to the complaint. Grigsby contends her supervisors in EVS treated her unfairly. Other employees got a uniform and a system password, but she did not, she claims.

Grigsby says Newman, Kitts, Heffington and Davis all made her work excessively difficult in various ways until she ultimately resigned on Oct. 27, 2017.

Felisha Grigsby seeks economic and non-economic damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, exemplary and punitive damages, costs of suit and a jury trial. She is represented by Richard A. Lewis in Sacramento.