The Employee began working at the corporate Defendants on about September 23, 2002 as a claims clerk, and was put into the underwriting department, as a clerk, on or about 2003. At the time of her termination she was earning slightly more than $13.00 an hour and working for the Defendants on a full-time basis.
The Employee, who is 33, was born with disabilities to her eye that classify as actual and perceived physical disabilities under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 12926(k) as special sense organ disabilities which caused a record of the disability, anatomical loss, and symptoms affecting major life activities namely being able to see, but as explained in this complaint, also affecting other bodily organs and creating interferences with other major life activities than sight.
Due to Plaitniff's genetic eye disorders, on or about February 3, 2006,The Employee had cataract surgery causingThe Employee to be off from work for approximately five days. On or about February 16, 2006, when back at work,The Employee's retina tore as a result of the cataract surgery.
On or about February 16, 2006,The Employee told her supervisor, Mission Hills, Operations Manager, who was aware of the recent surgery, "Something is wrong with my eye." Mission Hills toldThe Employee if she couldn't come in the next day to call Encino, and thenThe Employee left.
On or about February 17, 2006,The Employee had surgery for a detached retina. The artificial lens that had been put in was also taken out.
On or about February 17, 2006, prior to her surgery,The Employee spoke to Maud Dunnig at Defendants and told them she was having surgery, please tell Encino. The Employee was then told to deal with CIGNA who would be Defendants' intermediary in communicating withThe Employee about her medical condition and needs for leave at Defendants.
From on or about February 17, 2006 through May 17, 2006,The Employee's doctor took her off work due to her eye conditions. The eye was swollen,The Employee could not open it, the eye hurt, she was suffering headaches, and had to wear an eye patch.The Employee is informed and believes that the Defendants learned each of the things described in Paragraphs 7 through 12 of this disability discrimination lawsuit by the timeThe Employee returned early to work on or about May 1, 2006.
On or about May 1, 2006,The Employee returned to work, early, from her leave. Human Resources was present with Mission Hills. There were some words by supervisor and Mission Hills indicating it was goodThe Employee had come back when she did because she might have been fired already.
The Employee worked for a month until on or about June 1, 2006. She then sent an e-mail to Mission Hills and greater Valley employee telling them she needed a surgery to remove oil in her eye and needed three days off. Complications arose from that surgery. Mission Hills toldThe Employee words similar to you know the routine, call Cigna.
On or about June 13, 2006,The Employee's doctor decided more surgery was needed to remove scar tissue, and also to hold in her retina including more oil in the eye. The procedure would preventThe Employee from being in high altitudes, includingThe Employee's highrise office at Defendants, for a period of time until the oil put into the eye dissolved. On or about June 26, 2006, the additional surgical procedures were done andThe Employee's doctor put her out until December 1, 2006.
An administrative assistant benefit worker for Defendants wantedThe Employee back November 28, 2006. CIGNA toldThe Employee Defendants had to accommodate her until the return to work date prescribed byThe Employee's doctor, December 1, 2006. On or about November 29, 2006The Employee spoke to Greater Valley Employee and explained what CIGNA had told her. Greater Valley Employee insistedThe Employee had to come back by November 29, 2006 because her private short term disability benefits had run out with CIGNA.The Employee alleges this is legally irrelevant for purposes of FEHA, and even if it was under Greater Valley Employee' logic that the job only had to be held open as long as CIGNA provided private disability insurance payments,The Employee should have been accommodated for another 2 calendar days until December 1, 2006 becauseThe Employee was eligible for CIGNA long term disability benefits by November 27, 2006.
Defendants violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act by terminatingThe Employee's employment and refusing to accommodate her disability leave that was scheduled to end two days after the November 29, 2006 termination. Defendants also retaliated againstThe Employee for telling them they had to "accommodate her" through her disability period including until December 1, 2006, and because she had taken CFRA leave and disability leave under FEHA. In addition, Defendants discriminated againstThe Employee and did not want to have her work for them anymore because they expected her to have to miss more days due to her disability.
The Employee suffers from glaucoma. Besides the potential of going blind if not properly treated, glaucoma is a blood vessel disease thereby making it a hemic disability under California Government Code Section 12940(k)(1)(A). The hemic nature of the disease causes extreme pressure in the head causing headaches. Needless to say, the disease also affects the special sense organs through deteriorating vision as well as pain requiring medication and medical treatment thereby further making it a disability. Thus, the mitigating measures for this disability limit life activities in that they require medical treatment. Additionally, theThe Employee's glaucoma causes him extreme pain in his eyes and head that sometimes requires him to be unable to work for short periods of time.FAILURE TO ACCOMMODATE DISABILITY CASE RESULT: $160,525.00 SETTLEMENT IN 2014 DOLLARS
On or about early August of 2001,The Employee told Defendant, hospital employer’s department manager where disabled client worked was told he had medical issues he was trying to resolve.The Employee explained that these medical issues included migraine headaches that lasted the entire day. He explained that he suffered from glaucoma, and believed these headaches to be a related consequence of the disease. He said he was in the process of treating with multiple doctors in order to bring his blood pressure down so certain swellings and pains, including the headaches, would stop. The Employee offered to cut his hours down to accommodate these appointments, treatments, and recoveries therefrom. Hacienda Heights refused these accommodations, and toldThe Employee to just stay at home if he was ill.The Employee contends this was a failure to engage in the interactive process, a failure to accommodateThe Employee's disability, and a refusal to employThe Employee consistent with his disability. Nonetheless, thereafter,The Employee gave Hacienda Heights a list of his medical appointments.
The Employee also told Defendant, CANOGA PARK EMPLOYER, via their account manager about his glaucoma, need for treatment, and what problems it was causing him in substantially the same manner as described in Paragraph 8 of this disability discrimination lawsuit.The Employee is informed and believes that the person he told this to transmitted this information onto his supervisors and managers. However, Lakewood toldThe Employee that he would have to work these issues out with Hacienda Heights, and failed to offer any accommodations thereby aiding and abetting in disability discrimination.FAILURE TO ACCOMMODATE BURBNANK GLAUCOMA PATIENT: SETTLEMENT OF OVER $82,000 PRESENT CASH VALUE IMPROPER TERMINATION OF LOS ANGELES EMPLOYEE WITH HEART CONDITIONS
On or about August 24, 2001, Hacienda Heights terminatedThe Employee's employment by telling him that due to his absences and disability she could not haveThe Employee working for her. Besides being terminated for having a disability and needing accommodations,The Employee alleges that he was also discriminated against by not being put onto Medical Center's payroll. Additionally,The Employee alleges that due to his disability, need for accommodations, and filing DFEH charges, Defendant, CANOGA PARK EMPLOYER never providedThe Employee with any other placement, or assignments.
The Employee contends that all named Defendants, and each of them violated California Government Code Section 12940 as follows:
On or about July of 2003The Employee began experiencing symptoms related to faulty heart valves. By on or about November of 2003, Planitiff was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. On or about November 5, 2003,The Employee went out on leave for 2 weeks due to pain associated with his medical condition. Also in November of 2003,The Employee told Sun Valley that he had congestive heart failure. During November of 2003, it was thoughtThe Employee needed an operation due to his congestive heart failure.
On or about January 7, 2004, Sherman Village, Defendants' benefits adminsitrator sentThe Employee a letter explaining his rights under the new Paid Family leave Act. On or about February of 2004,The Employee was hospitalized for 4 days due to his congestive heart failure, and sent home on 8 separate medications.
On or about March 16, 2004, Sherman Village sentThe Employee a letter stating his Family Medical Leave was exhausted, and she would like to begin an interactive process withThe Employee to dtermine what reasonable accomodations he might need in order to come back to work.During March of 2004,The Employee and Defendants engaged in an interactive process.The Employee told his employer that if his job was in jeopardy he would come back to work.The Employee was told his job was not in jeopardy by Sherman Village, benefits administrator.
On or about May 28, 2004, Defendants' human resource manager, Hawthorne, sentThe Employee a letter terminating his employment because she thought he went on long term disability, and stating it is Defendants' policy to terminate employees when they go on long term disabilty.The Employee never went on long term disability and made Hawthorne aware of such facts after receiving the letter.
Throughout the period of timeThe Employee needed to be off for his disability, he sent Sherman Village all types of doctors notes and excuses explaning whenThe Employee had to be off, what was wrong with him, that he was presently incapable of minimal sedentary activity, and would need an open heart surgery.
The Employee contends that his heart condition is an actual and perceived physical disability under California Government Code Section 12926(k) because it affects major life activities including being able to work, move around, breath, eat a normal diet, and makesThe Employee feel a bad stomach sickness. Additionally, the medical condition requires as many as 8 or more serious medications, at once, with all sorts of side effects further limiting major life activities, and taking all of these medications under so many conditions in itself effects major life activities. Additionally, the medical condition affectsThe Employee's cardiovascular, hemic, respiratory, and other organs in his body because his heart is not working correctly.
The Employee contends that at the time of his termination, Defendant's management, as described in Paragraphs 8-14 of this disability discrimination lawsuit, knew that he had been suffering from gout for years before his termination. They further knew this condition preventedThe Employee from walking, caused him to limp, required doctor's care, and medication that had adverse health effects such as dizziness. Defendant's management also knewThe Employee's gout and medications required reasonable accommodations such as time off due to medication and flare ups.The Employee contends that Defendant consideredThe Employee to be suffering from an actual and/or perceived physical disability that limited major life activities such as walking, working, and generally enjoying life and being able to do anything when the medications malfunctioned.The Employee contends that Defendant violated California Government Code Section 12940 as follows:
The Employee began working at Defendant's building on or about February of 2002. From that time onward, Defendant's management managed and controlledThe Employee. However, Defendant hadThe Employee on several payrolls other than theirs before they putThe Employee on their payroll on or about May 7, 2003. WhenThe Employee was put onto Defendant's payroll he was told his seniority would stay the same, and for human resources purposes he would be considered an employee of Defendant since the date he was hired by the prior companies that hadThe Employee on their payroll. Prior toThe Employee being on Defendant's payroll, he was managed and controlled by Defendant. This management and control included Defendant's general manager, chief engineer, and property manager givingThe Employee work orders, supervising his work, approving his work, and being responsible for his work.The Employee is not a contractor. However, his job included maintenance work for which a contracting license would have been required had the owner and/or property manager of the building not been employing their own employees, such asThe Employee, to do the work. Thus,The Employee was always considered an employee of Defendant. If he was physically paid by another company prior to May of 2003, that was merely due to contracts Defendant had with other corporations, but it did not meanThe Employee was not employed, managed, or controlled by Defendant.
The Employee was diagnosed with Gout approximately 7-8 years ago. This illness disablesThe Employee by preventing him from walking for periods of time. As a maintenance worker performing physical labor, using ladders, and often carrying heavy objects, spells of gout preventThe Employee from working. However, with reasonable accommodation such as medication and time off when particularly bad flares occur,The Employee is able to perform the type of work he performed at Defendant.The Employee's illness, coupled with the medications prescribed for it, have requiredThe Employee to be under doctor's care for 7-8 years, and have regular visits with these doctors.
On or about September 2003,The Employee told Defendant's Portfolio Manager, Paramount about his gout and the physical limitations it presented to him. At the time, Paramount was the General Manager of the project.
On or about September of 2003,The Employee told his direct supervisor, Valley Village that he had gout.The Employee explained to Valley Village that the gout prohibitedThe Employee from walking at times, and he was being medicated for it.
On or about whenThe Employee began working under Defendant's management and control, he told Chatsworth, Property Manager, about his gout, the physical limitations it presented, including presenting the inability to walk, and the medication he was required to take.
On or about early 2004,The Employee told general manager, about his gout, the physical limitations it presented, including presenting an inability to walk, and the medication he was required to take.
On or about February 27, March 1, and March 2, 2004The Employee was off work due to gout. WhenThe Employee came back to work on or about March 3, 2004,The Employee gave Valley Village a doctor's note explainingThe Employee was out due to gout. Valley Village sawThe Employee limping and sent him home. On or about March 4, 2004,The Employee went back to work and Valley Village causedThe Employee to be written up for missing work. This was despite the fact Valley Village sentThe Employee home because he was limping and knewThe Employee had missed work due to his gout and inability to walk.
On or about April 29, 2004The Employee was sent home by Defendant's assistant property manager, Arleta.The Employee said he was dizzy and could not work. It was understood these were side effectsThe Employee was suffering from gout medication.
On or about April 30, 2004,The Employee woke up feeling dizzy as a result of the medication he was taking due to gout.The Employee called his immediate supervisor, Valley Village, Chief Engineer.The Employee told Valley Village he was feeling dizzy due to the medication and he could not work that day.
On or about May 3, 2004,The Employee was terminated by Cerritos, general manager, Valley Village, Direct Supervisor and Chief Engineer, and Chatsworth, Property Manager. Chatsworth toldThe Employee he was terminated due to absences.
At the time ofThe Employee's termination, the three people in the termination meeting all knewThe Employee had been absent due to gout. They knew the illness madeThe Employee limp and be unable to walk. They also knew he had been under doctor's treatment for this illness for a long time, on multiple occasions, and as recently as approximately a month before. They also knew this illness requiredThe Employee to be prescribed medication that, at times, made him dizzy and unable to work. Despite this knowledge, Defendant terminatedThe Employee, and failed to engage in an interactive process to determine what accommodations could be given toThe Employee while still allowing him to work. At the time ofThe Employee's termination he had more than 4 compensatory days off he could have used for future illnesses. Thus, he had not exhausted his compensatory paid time off. Amongst other reasons, the fact thatThe Employee still had paid days off at the time he was fired meant that it was not an undue burden to accommodateThe Employee's need for time off due to his illness.CASE RESULT FOR EMPLOYEE WITH GOUT: A confidential settlement was reached early on in the case for around $100,000 in present cash value.
The medical documentation provided to Defendant statedThe Employee was unable to work since April 28th, but was able to return to work May 14th. It further statedThe Employee had trouble sleeping, difficulty with attention, could not tolerate stress, experienced a depressed mood, was in the psychiatrist's office April 28th and May 7th, the conditions began April 18th and worsened, and wasThe Employee incapacitated. Finally, the medical documentation statedThe Employee would need regular office visits bi-weekly to monthly after he was cleared to return May 14th totaling 10-15 visits within the next 12 months and that he was prescribed medications.
The Employee was first diagnosed with a depressive disorder in 1999.The Employee has been treating and receiving medication for that mental disability since. With accommodation for this disability, including time off to become medicated,The Employee is able to work.
The Employee was cleared by his psychiatrist to go back to work, and did on May 14, 2004. Upon returning to work,The Employee was terminated.The Employee was not provided any severance pay under the written agreement he had with Defendant.CASE RESULT FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION OF EXECUTIVE: A SETTLEMENT OF $181,484 IN 2014 DOLLARS WAS PROMPTLY REACHED