Man Fired After He Asked for Protected Leave, He Claims
1-23-2019 17:39:00

MODESTO, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser fired a compliance consultant the same day he asked for a leave of absence to care for his elderly father who had cancer, according to the former employee’s Stanislaus County Superior Court lawsuit.

Ken Berry, Tuesday, sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Southern California Permanente Group, Deanne McCoy and Monica Hoyle for violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, including discrimination by association with a disabled family member and for engaging in a  protected activity, harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, and retaliation, and for federal Family Medical Leave Act discrimination, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, gender discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and failure to pay wages due at end of employment under the California Labor Code.  

Berry says he began working for Kaiser in 1997 at Kaiser’s Modesto Hospital. In 2017, he was transferred to Kaiser’s Compliance Department as a compliance consultant after his position as Manager of Clinical Consulting was eliminated, the suit states. 

Defendant McCoy was Berry’s new supervisor, and she and another female colleague, defendant Hoyle, subjected Berry to harassment and discrimination, according to the action, treating him like “their personal assistant, rather than their equal,” by asking him to “grab them water, take out the trash and pick up or drop off the mail.”

Berry says that during this time, his father was battling cancer. Berry submitted paperwork to take a Family and Medical Leave Act leave of absence and informed defendant McCoy of his plans to take the leave. On Nov. 3, 2017, Berry asked to work remotely in the afternoons so he could look after his father, the suites states.

That same day, McCoy “terminated plaintiff’s employment under the guise of an at-will employment,” according to the action. Ironically, In December 2017, Kaiser approved Berry’s leave, the suit states.

As of the date of filing the lawsuit, Kaiser had still not paid Berry for his accrued sick days, according to the action.

Berry seeks back and front pay, compensatory, consequential and special damages, penalties, punitive damages, interest, and legal costs, as well as an accounting and a declaration of rights and interests. 

Berry is represented by Nazo Koulloukian and Christine Harmandayan of Koul Law Firm in Los Angeles, California and Charles Matthews of Matthews Law Group in Arcadia, California.