Going up against a large employer when you’ve been discriminated against can be daunting, especially when your condition arises from a work-related injury. An experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer can help guide you through the process of seeking justice and fair compensation.
Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which has jurisdiction over California) reinstated an FMLA and disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a Nevada woman against a large box chain retailer employer.
The case of Hazelett v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. began with a work injury. Plaintiff worked as an order-filler at one of the store’s distribution centers near her home when she injured her foot on-the-job. She filed for workers’ compensation and later, a leave of absence. During her work-related disability, the store offered her a temporary alternate duty assignment. The form for that assignment indicated that if she refused that assignment, her disability benefits could be suspended or denied due to noncompliance. However, the reassignment they offered was a far distance from her home and required her to work into the wee hours of the morning. Meanwhile, her work injury was such that she could not drive. No public transportation would be available to take her home after her shift, unless she paid for a taxi, which she couldn’t afford. She called out sick each day she was absent, thinking they were excused, as they were all related to her workers’ compensation injury. Yet on the day she filed for leave under the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, she was fired for excessive absences.
(FMLA is a federal law allowing up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child/placement of adoption, care of a spouse/child/parent who has a serious health condition or a serious health condition rendering employee unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.)