Class Claims Kaiser Targets Workers with Disabilities
12-17-2020 23:21:00

ATLANTA (CN) – Kaiser singles out those with disabilities and makes them take a competency test even though they are already competently performing their jobs, a fired worker claims in her class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

Anteaus N. Yarbough, on behalf of herself and other persons similarly situated, sued Kaiser Permanente Georgia Region, also known as Kaiser Permanente Insurance Company, for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability discrimination, unlawful medical requests, and failure to accommodate.  

Yarbough’s complaint claims that defendant Kaiser has a “company-wide pattern and practice” of disability discrimination, and that Kaiser “singled out plaintiff because of her actual, recorded, or perceived disability, and demanded plaintiff disclose her medical condition.” Once Kaiser learned of her anxiety and depression diagnosis, Yarbough was singled out to take a competency test for the job she already had.

According to her action, Yarbough began working for Kaiser in October 2010 as a customer service coordinator in Atlanta, then worked as a patient care associate in Kaiser’s Cascade, Georgia office. In the fall of 2018, Kaiser learned of her diagnosis, and in 2019 she was told she had to take the competency test.

Yarbough reportedly asked for a reasonable accommodation of “postponement until she was mentally stable to sit for the test.” Her request was denied, “and she and others were told that they had failed the test, even though they did not receive their test scores.” Later that year, the process was repeated, with Yarbough again asking for postponement, having her request denied, then taking the test and being informed she had failed with no score provided.

Kaiser fired Yarbough in November 2019 because she “no longer met the job requirements and was not successful passing the second attempt of the competency test,” the suit states. Kaiser did not follow up with Yarbough regarding her requests for accommodation, did not offer her “any accommodation whatsoever,” and “completely failed to engage in an interactive process regarding what accommodations could be provided.”

Yarbough seeks a determination that Kaiser’s actions are violations of the ADA, an injunction to stop the unlawful actions, damages for past and future lost income in excess of $75,000, damages for mental anguish and emotional distress in excess of $75,000, for relief under the ADA including punitive damages and reinstatement, interest and legal costs and fees. 

The plaintiff is represented by Roderick T. Cooks of Winston Cooks LLC in Birmingham, Alabama.