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California employee who was ill accuses CEO of discrimination

According to a 28-page legal claim that was recently filed in California, the CEO of the Tri-City Healthcare District has failed to protect the rights of the agency's employees who have had to take time off of work for medical purposes over the last few years.

The former Tri-City employee who filed the claim has accused the CEO of violating state and federal employment and labor laws by discriminating against unhealthy employees and those who needed to take time off of work to care for ill family members. The former employee claims that he was also a victim of discrimination in the workplace and that he was later terminated because of his medical condition.

According to the claim, the CEO discriminated against several employees on multiple occasions since 2009.

The former employee said that the CEO yelled at one employee for missing work in order to attend physical therapy appointments for a shoulder injury. Another employee was allegedly forced to return to work before she recovered from a surgery. In another case, the CEO called an employee an inappropriate name after the employee said that she needed to take a medical leave in order to care for her children who were both diagnosed with brain cancer.

The CEO also began to harass the former employee after he was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, the claim states. When the employee had to take time off for his medical condition, the CEO allegedly stated that he only wanted to "hire healthy people."

Earlier this year, the man was fired by Tri-City. He argues that the CEO fired him because of his poor health. The former employee's claim is asking for compensation in excess of $1 million. This would include severance pay, lost wages and benefits, damages for pain and suffering, and legal fees.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hospital CEO accused of railing against medical leave," Aaron Burgin, May 24, 2012

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