In 2014, Kaiser Permanente terminated employee Maria Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzalez was a medical assistant working in California. She claimed that Kaiser’s decision to fire her amounted to wrongful termination. She argued that Kaiser’s decision was intended avoid having to pay medical bills resulting from her son’s disability. Therefore, she argued, Kaiser’s firing constituted disability discrimination.
As a Kaiser employee, Ms. Gonzalez had more than 10 years of positive reviews, which continued until her son got sick and required treatment for a chronic disorder. In addition to being a Kaiser employee, Ms. Gonzalez was also a Kaiser customer. Ms. Gonzalez’ son was covered by Kaiser and received medical treatments. But after the initial operation failed, Ms. Gonzalez wanted her son to have a second surgery. Ms. Gonzalez and her son were having difficulty obtaining approval from Kaiser for the second surgery. Overall, Ms. Gonzalez and her son were unhappy with the quality of the medical service they received from Kaiser. But, when they complained, Kaiser physicians allegedly threatened Ms. Gonzalez’ job. Ultimately, Kaiser fired Ms. Gonzalez.
After she was fired, Ms. Gonzalez filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Kaiser. The action was filed with the superior court. The action was filed in California and alleged discrimination based on Ms. Gonzalez’ son’s disability. Before going to trial, the parties attempted to settle the case. But, settlement efforts failed after Kaiser refused to offer more than $15,000, according to Ms. Gonzalez’ employment lawyer.
Her attorney asked the jury to award $7,000,000 to Ms. Gonzalez. While the jury refused to award this amount, it did find in favor of Ms. Gonzalez. The jury decided that Kaiser wrongfully terminated Ms. Gonzalez and awarded her $492,000.
For more information about wrongful termination in California, or if you believe you or someone you know was wrongfully terminated or discriminated against, please don’t hesitate to contact the Zakay Law Group.