Kaiser Fires Injured Construction Worker Who Reported Violations
By William Dotinga
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) - A former construction foreman for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals claims he was fired after he reported numerous health and safety violations and then became injured.
Bruce Clegg says in his Riverside County complaint that he made "numerous reports, complaints and/or objections to what he reasonably believed to be and/or in fact were defendant's violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Family Rights Act, the California Health and Safety Code, the California Government Code and/or the California Labor Code" over his 10-year employment with Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. According to Clegg, he began working for KFH as a carpenter in 2002 and was promoted to non-working foreman in 2008.
Clegg says he repeatedly blew the whistle on theft and fraud within Kaiser's construction department, including the report of an incident where he believed construction managers were using Kaiser's labor and materials - purchased with state and federal grant money - on remodeling projects at their private residences. After he participated in KFH's investigation, Clegg claims the construction managers threatened and harassed him.
When he suffered a work-related shoulder injury in 2009, Clegg says Kaiser's construction managers forced him to take a two-year leave of absence, despite the fact that his doctor released him to return to work with restrictions.
"Throughout this medical leave, plaintiff provided defendant ... updates about his disabilities and related treatment. Plaintiff also made repeated requests to return to work. Defendant responded by summarily denying his requests, hanging up on him and even stating that defendant does not provide its employees with modified duty," Clegg says in his complaint.
Clegg says he filed complaints with various state agencies for whistleblower retaliation and about Kaiser Foundation Hospitals' defective ceilings. Clegg's complaint fails to state the outcome of those actions.
According to the complaint, Clegg returned to work with restrictions in August 2011. Kaiser construction managers immediately forced him to perform work in violation of those restrictions, Clegg says.
Managers also threatened Clegg to stop whistleblowing, warning him Kaiser would "fire us all" and that he was in "deep shit" for whistleblowing, according to the complaint. A year later - after Clegg handed construction managers with more work restrictions - they fired him, claiming Kaiser Foundation Hospitals does not allow modified duty.
Clegg seeks damages for a litany of disability discrimination-related violations, retaliation and harassment. He is represented by David P. Myers of the Myers Law Group in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.