Discrimination · Retaliation

Chariot Transit Sued; Alleged to Have Secretly Fired an Injured Worker

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A former charter bus driver for Chariot Transit is alleging that she was injured on the job, got pregnant and when she couldn’t get modified duty assignments communicated with the HR department and learned that she had been terminated eleven months prior.

There is likely a lot more to this story but, in general, injuries and pregnancies and long leaves of absence can be challenging for small employers, especially if the employee is missing during the busy season or the work is dangerous. Reasonable accommodation is a bit of a moving target. Putting disabled drivers back to work can be tense if the work is dangerous, since employers don’t want anything to happen to them and be blamed for that.

In some cases, the employee isn’t any good on top of it. Employers are thinking about terminating them but don’t get to it before the injury or other leave request, effectively tying the employer’s hands. Employers who don’t wait the leave out give an employee running room to make the argument that the termination was in retaliation for taking the leave. This is why attorney’s joke: if you want to not get fired, fall off a ladder.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
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Discrimination · Retaliation

Wageworks Alleged to Have Fired Pregnant Woman, On Her Vacation

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A woman is suing Wageworks, which advertises itself as a “provider of tax-advantaged consumer directed health, commuter & employee benefit plans,” alleging she asked for pregnancy leave and, following that, took a vacation and was fired. Plaintiff alleges that she had positive performance reviews leading up to her leave request, vacation and termination. Plaintiff says that her employer was just not happy about the fact that she was exercising her right to take leave.

Employers should be weary of terminating pregnant women or any employee on or about to take leave. It looks bad, and if the employee happens to have a miscarriage or difficult pregnancy, it looks worse. Employers should wait until an employee returns from leave before taking any action respecting their employment.

Good performance reviews is another bad fact for Wageworks, if it’s true. Employers are best advised to document grievances with an employee’s work product and/or behavior prior to firing, to avoid the appearance of discrimination.

If Wageworks can show it was restructuring and/or another non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination, it may win the case. At will employees can be fired at the will of the employer, for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. But, bad timing and/or bad documentation can give a plaintiff just what they need to argue the employer’s claimed reason for termination is a “pretext” for discrimination.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
Discrimination

Bipolar Disorder Continues to Present a Challenge for Employers

OAKLAND, CA – In December, Kaiser was sued by a former employee who alleges that she suffers from bipolar disorder and was terminated after doing bad things during a psychotic episode, including threatening her supervisor.

Bipolar disorder presents a real challenge for employers, large and small. The conflict between doing the right thing for the individual and what’s right for the business is especially intense for smaller businesses in an inferior position to a business like Kaiser to accommodate absences and outbursts. In many cases, the company’s other employees are victims of the behavior, and threaten to quit.

There are cases in California that discuss when and how employers should approach the issue. Employers are advised to contact counsel before demoting or firing an employee whom they know to struggle with this very serious disease.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.