Kaiser Employee Was Fired For Taking Medical Leave, Suit Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) – A Kaiser supervisor retaliated against an employee with disabilities for taking medical leave and then fired her, according to her Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit.
Stephanie Czifra sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Michele Bloomquist for employment disability discrimination, harassment and failure to prevent discrimination/harassment, failure to accommodate or engage in an interactive process, wrongful termination, retaliation, emotional distress, unfair business practices and wage violations.
Czifra worked for Kaiser as a construction liaison clerk from 2001 to 2018. Defendant Bloomquist was her direct supervisor, according to the suit.
Czifra says the trouble started when she ordered business cards for several employees. “Defendant Bloomquist got into trouble with her immediate supervisor for allowing Ms. Czifra to order the business cards online at work,” the action states.
Czifra says she was moved to a different location in retaliation, then moved to the basement, then moved to a location two miles away. She was written up for coming to work early and for coming to work late after approved medical appointments.
“Ms. Czifra was the only employee required to email defendant Bloomquist whenever Ms. Czifra went to the restroom during the day,” the suit alleges, “and was the only employee required to clock in and out when she took a rest period.”
In addition, Bloomquist would reprimand Czifra by email, “making sure to include other employees in the emails to intentionally embarrass and harass Ms. Czifra,” according to the action.
Czifra says she developed several disabilities during her employment, but Bloomquist prevented her “from using her sick time for medical appointments and she was written up for doing so.”
Czifra has fibromyalgia, a work-related knee injury and carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists, the action says. She had work restrictions, but defendants refused to make accommodations.
Czifra’s doctor put her on medical leave for 10 days in March 2017, then again from May 2017 through February 2018, the suit notes.
In retaliation for Czifra taking the leave, Bloomquist denied vacation requests, told other employees not to communicate with her at work, gave Czifra extra work and duties, and changed work deadlines, the action alleges.
Czifra says she was also not paid for overtime and was denied meal and rest breaks. She was fired on the pretext that she had problems with her job attendance, the suit states.
Czifra seeks compensatory and general damages, restitution, waiting time and other penalties, injunctive relief, punitive damages, and legal costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Kevin Mahoney and Atoy H. Wilson of Mahoney Law Group APC, in Long Beach, California.