Kaiser Fired Account Rep For Seeking Accommodations, She Claims
11-20-2019 23:19:00

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Kaiser fired an employee of 14 years rather than accommodating her disability, according to an action filed in San Diego County Superior Court.

Tammy Sullivan sued Kaiser foundation Health Plan, Inc. for wrongful termination, discrimination on the basis of age and disability, failure to accommodate or to engage in the interactive process, retaliation, and failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.

Sullivan, who is 59, says she began working for defendant Kaiser in 2005 as an “account admin rep.” The complaint claims that in December 2018 she starting having eye strain and headaches, including migraines. Her doctor gave her a note for work restrictions including low lighting, a humidifier, and avoiding glare from the computer. 

Sullivan says defendant was aware that the reflection from the sun on her computer screen and the bright lights above her desk exacerbated her disability, but never engaged in an interactive process to identify possible solutions, and provided no accommodations, Sullivan claims, instead placing her on paid suspension, and then firing her.

According to the action, Kaiser fired Sullivan due to her age, disability and/or in retaliation for asking for reasonable accommodations, a protected activity. Additionally, “defendant had in place policies and procedures that specifically required defendant’s manager, officers and agents to prevent discrimination against and upon employees of defendant. Plaintiff relied on the fact that defendant would follow these known policies, yet defendant consciously chose not to follow said policies,” the suit states.

Sullivan’s action alleges that because Kaiser did not follow its own policies, its action in firing Sullivan was “fraudulent, malicious, oppressive, and was done in wanton disregard for the rights of plaintiff, and the rights and duties each defendant owed to plaintiff … plaintiff should therefore be awarded exemplary and punitive damages.”

Sullivan seeks general and special damages, medical expenses, loss of earnings, interest and legal costs, in addition to exemplary and punitive damages.

Sullivan is represented by Joseph M. Lovretovich, Jaren W. Beilke and Adam J. Sherman of JML Law in Woodland Hills, California.