Former Kaiser pharmacist ties firing to COVID family leave
A former Kaiser Foundation Hospitals pharmacist is suing the company and several Kaiser affiliates, alleging she was wrongfully fired earlier this year for taking leave to care for her elderly parents, her 5-year-old son, her husband and herself after they all were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Ani J. Adamian’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include wrongful termination, disability discrimination and harassment, whistleblower retaliation, failure to accommodate and engage in the interactive process, race and gender discrimination, defamation, and violations of the state Labor Code.
The 41-year-old Adamian, who is of Armenian ancestry, seeks unspecified damages in the suit brought Nov. 17. A Kaiser spokeswoman said the company has not been served yet, but that “we do not have any comments to share.”
Adamian was hired as a pharmacist intern in August 2004 and later as a regular pharmacist after she completed her schooling, the suit states. For 18 years, she had an impeccable history of documenting her working hours and following the laws and defendants’ policies, the suit states.
During the last few months of her Kaiser employment, Adamian, her parents, her spouse and her child contracted the coronavirus, requiring her to take time off in July to care for her relatives and herself, the suit states. When Adamian returned to work in late July, her supervisor sent her a message that read, “We need to set up a time to discuss your COVID leave … and attendance,” the suit states.
Adamian provided documentation, including a doctor’s note for her son and an explanation that her son was still not allowed to return to school because of his positive test, the suit states. Adamian also told her supervisor that the plaintiff’s father needed monoclonal antibody infusions after he tested positive because he is on dialysis for kidney disease.
Nonetheless, Adamian’s boss told her in August that she had concerns about Adamian’s attendance and her leaving work for family needs, stating, “I have an investigation that has not been completed yet,” the suit states.
Adamian was suspended in September and fired in October, the suit states. Her boss told her she had violated Kaiser’s employee attendance policy, according to the suit.
Adamian has experienced lost income and emotional distress because her firing, the suit states. She also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder acquired when she was robbed of her purse at gunpoint while working at a Kaiser facility in Northridge in September 2016, the suit states.