Kaiser Secretary Fired While on Medical Leave, Action Alleges
6-21-2019 03:32:00

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser fired a secretary while she was on medical leave for work-induced depression, according to an action filed in San Bernardino Superior Court.

 Yadira Rodriguez sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for employment discrimination on the basis of disability, including failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process, in addition to wrongful termination, retaliation and failure to prevent retaliation, retaliation and interference with taking protected family leave and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act, and unfair business practices.

Plaintiff Rodriguez says she worked for Kaiser as a secretary in the delivery and post-partum ward for almost seven years. During this time, she had to take spontaneous family leave to deal with her son’s Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) that sometimes required rushing her son to the emergency department for immediate care, according to the action.

One such incident happened in August 2017, when Rodriguez took a week off to deal with her son who had an “uncontrollable bout of CVS,” the suit states. When she returned to work, defendant Kaiser questioned the validity of her off work order, because they claimed that “the physician by the name of Chinnici could not be found in the physician directory,” the action alleges. “Yet a search of ‘Christopher Edward Chinnici’ lists Mr. Chinnici as a pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente,” the suit states.

During the subsequent suspension during the investigation, Rodriguez developed severe stress and anxiety to the point that her own doctor placed her on medical leave for major depressive disorder disability throughout the month of December, and the order that was later extended through February 2018, when she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the complaint claims.

Nevertheless, in the middle of her medical leave, Kaiser notified Rodriguez on Dec. 19, 2017 of a meeting on Dec. 22, regarding the outcome of the investigation of the August off work order. Rodriguez was unable to attend the meeting, which Kaiser knew because they had been informed of her protected medical leave, the suit states. Kaiser fired Rodriguez while she was on protected leave, without providing any interactive process or reasonable accommodations, the action alleges.

Rodriguez seeks general, actual, consequential and incidental damages, including for back pay, front pay, loss of earnings and benefits, and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages, interest and legal costs. She also requests an order to stop Kaiser’s illegal employment practices.

Rodriguez is represented by David Yeremian and Jason Rothman of David Yeremian & Associates, Inc., in Glendale, California.