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Kaiser Bosses Target Injured SEIU Orthopedic Technicians In Valley For Bigger Profits
by Labor Video Project
Saturday Mar 17th, 2018 9:36 AM
Kaiser SEIU UHW orthopedic technicians have charged in a lawsuit that they were injured on the job as a result of short staffing and then were targeted for bullying and termination so Kaiser could bring in younger workers.
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Kaiser Bosses Target Injured SEIU UHW Orthopedic Technicians In Central Valley For Bigger Profits

Four Kaiser orthopedic technicians from the central valley of California at Stockton and Modesto have charged in a lawsuit that Kaiser provided incentives for managers to punish workers who took off due to workplace injuries. They were injured on the job and then were charged by Kaiser with improperly viewing patient records as a pretext to their terminations. According to the workers, as a result of being overworked and short staffing they had serious injuries that left them permanently disabled and unable to work and support themselves and their families. One of the workers Darrell Erickson even became homeless as a result of the retaliation and illegal discrimination by Kaiser management.

Workers talked about the effect of workplace bullying and the terminations by Kaiser which have led had even more serious health problems. The workers in this interview are David Gonzalez, Darrel Erickson and Dina Worthington.

Documents according to their attorneys also show that Kaiser promotes a "corporate culture of hostility toward disabled employees and those who take medical leave of absences."

The workers also filed grievances with their union SEIU UHW led by Dave Regan and according to the workers the union refused to take the grievances to arbitration and would not even answer calls from the workers. The "non-profit" Kaiser CEO Bernard J. Tyson made $10.2 million in 2013.

The orthopedic technicians are represented by J. Gary Gwilliams, Raven W. Sarnoff and Jayme L. Walker. Kaiser had had previous cases of retaliatory discrimination and has settled with non-disclosure agreements but has continued these anti-labor discriminatory practices that have targeted injured workers.

This interview was done on March 12, 2018 in Oakland California.

Additional media:

http://www.recordnet.com/news/20180315/former-kaiser-employees-sue-over-compensation-policy
https://youtu.be/N__a29xugDg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-au_AhTzGjY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVyX4geXxM8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72if6kYKc74
http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/entry/kaiser-rns-to-rally-across-ca-monday-for-safer-care/
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/7434518-181/kaiser-nurses-hold-protest-rally?artslide=0
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/19/kaiser-permanente-nurses-protesting-staffing-levels/
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september272011/downey-nukes-gs.php

Production of Labor Video Project
http://www.laborvideo.org

Former Kaiser employees sue over compensation policy

http://www.recordnet.com/news/20180315/former-kaiser-employees-sue-over-compensation-policy

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David Gonzales, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Darrell Erickson, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Dina Worthington, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Jannette Hall, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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David Gonzales, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Darrell Erickson, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Dina Worthington, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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Jannette Hall, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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David Gonzales, former senior orthopedic technician suing The Permanente Medical Group Inc. [COURTESY]
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By Joe Goldeen
Record Staff Writer

Posted Mar 15, 2018 at 5:49 PM
Updated Mar 15, 2018 at 5:49 PM

OAKLAND — Four former Kaiser Permanente employees who worked in Stockton and Modesto have filed a wrongful discharge lawsuit against the health care giant, saying its policy in the Central Valley of compensating managers based on employee attendance is illegal.

“These policies are mostly unique to Kaiser’s Central Valley operations. What we know about it is they have a policy evaluating manager performance by employees taking time off, whether it is because they are sick or recovering from work-related surgery,” said Jayme Walker, one of the attorneys representing the former employees.

“If too many employees had workplace injuries or cancer, management performance was docked, and that is an illegal policy,” said Walker, with the Oakland law firm of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli and Brewer.

The lawsuit, Gonzales vs. The Permanente Medical Group Inc., was scheduled to go to trial this week in Alameda County Superior Court but was postponed at the last minute so the parties could continue settlement talks. However, another attorney representing the former employees said the case is “by no means settled” at this time.

Also calling Kaiser’s Central Valley policy “illegal,” attorney Gary Gwilliam said, “Kaiser offers its managers incentives to terminate employees who require legally protected medical leaves of absence, and that’s what they did in this case.”

Gwilliam said it should be expected that absences from work that are protected by law would be excluded from Kaiser’s policy, but they are not. Kaiser fired the four employees — all with good work records, he said — without going through the normal process of progressive discipline.

“They replaced them all with younger, nondisabled workers. That’s Kaiser putting profits before people,” Gwilliam said.

His co-counsel Walker said: “Kaiser’s shocking and blatantly illegal policy ended the careers of four long-time employees who were dedicated to their patients and their jobs.”

The lead plaintiff in the case is David Gonzales, 52, who worked as a senior orthopedic technician at Kaiser’s Stockton Medical Offices on West Lane for more than two decades before he was fired. Much of his job consisted of applying and removing plaster casts on patients.


“My termination from Kaiser has ruined my life. In 23 years at Kaiser, I’d never even been reprimanded. When I was fired for trying to help my patients, security marched me out in front of patients I’d been treating,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales, according to his attorney, was told at the time he was fired that he had complained too much about his need for accommodation for job-related injuries.

His complaints centered on understaffing in the orthopedics department. “He was the only guy servicing all of the doctors in that department,” Walker said. “He had been off for five weeks for carpal tunnel caused by his job, and management was upset that he and another worker were off at the same time.”

A Kaiser executive said the company does not tolerate retaliation and denies the claims of the four former employees.

“Kaiser Permanente has policies in place prohibiting retaliation that are strictly enforced. The allegations in this lawsuit are not true. The plaintiffs were terminated for reasons unrelated to medical leave,” said Monica Azevedo, Kaiser’s Central Valley medical group administrator. No further comment was provided.

Another plaintiff, Darrell Erickson — who spent 20 years as a senior orthopedic technician, most recently at Kaiser’s Modesto Medical Offices, before being fired — was as equally distressed as Gonzales over the loss of his job.

“I needed leave to accommodate surgery for my work-related injuries and my managers told me I was going to be fired for requesting too much medical leave,” Erickson said.


“When I was terminated, it was basically the end of my life. I lost everything, including my house and my car and my ability to take care of my family,” he said.

A third plaintiff who also worked in Modesto as a senior orthopedic technician, Dina Worthington, said: “The impact of my termination from Kaiser has been humiliating and devastating to me financially. I love patient care and I loved my job. Kaiser took that away from me.”

The fourth plaintiff, former 10-year Modesto orthopedic technician Jannette Hall, could not be reached for comment. All four had suffered workplace injuries that required leaves of absences and accommodations for their injuries, according to Walker.

Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or jgoldeen [at] recordnet.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Discriminatory Termination of 4 Senior Orthopedic Technicians In Central Valley-Kaiser Bosses Tied Management Bonuses to use of Protected Leave of Employees

“I needed leave to accommodate surgery for my work-related injuries and my managers told me I was going to be fired for requesting too much medical leave.” said Plaintiff Darrell Erickson. Erickson had worked for Kaiser 20 years before his wrongful termination.
Kaiser ties Management Bonuses to use of Protected Leave of Employees

Four former Kaiser Permanente Senior Orthopedic Technicians are heading to court on March 16, 2018 with claims of Wrongful Discharge amongst other charges. The former employees were all long-term employees who suffered workplace injuries and required leaves of absence and accommodations for those injuries. Rather than accommodate its long-term employees, Kaiser fired them and hired new, younger employees. The manager of the department, Mary Carole Collins, said she wanted to terminate employees who took too much medical leave. This is because manager performance was evaluated based in part upon employee attendance regardless of whether it was for protected leave such as surgeries or illness.

“Kaiser’s shocking and blatantly illegal policy ended the careers of four long time employees who were dedicated to their patients and their jobs.” said Jayme L. Walker, Esq. of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer, who represents the Plaintiffs.

“Kaiser evaluates manager performance on the attendance of employees that report to them. If employees are not absent from work, then managers get a bonus. One would expect a performance goal like this would exclude absences from work that are protected by law, but shockingly, Kaiser does not exclude legally protected absences from its managers’ performance goals. By this illegal policy, Kaiser offers its managers incentives to terminate employees who require legally protected medical leaves of absence and that’s what they did in this case.” said Gary Gwilliam, Esq. of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer.

“I needed leave to accommodate surgery for my work-related injuries and my managers told me I was going to be fired for requesting too much medical leave.” said Plaintiff Darrell Erickson. Erickson had worked for Kaiser 20 years before his wrongful termination.

Plaintiff David Gonzales, had worked for Kaiser for 23 years as of the time he was fired after being told he had complained too much about his need for accommodation for job related injuries. Plaintiff Jannette Hall was a 10-year employee and Plaintiff Dina Worthington had been with Kaiser for 6 years at the time they were wrongfully terminated for having exercised their protected right to take medical leave for workplace injuries.

“Our clients were expecting reasonable accommodations for workplace injuries when Kaiser falsely accused our clients of allegedly violating other policies in order to wrongfully terminate them.” said Raven W. Sarnoff, Esq. of Sarnoff & Sarnoff, who also represent Plaintiffs.

For more information contact: J. Gary Gwilliam, Esq. or Jayme Walker, Esq.
Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer (510) 832-5411

ggwilliam [at] giccb.com , jwalker [at] giccb.com
§Kaiser Orthopedic Senior Technician Dave Gonzalez
by Labor Video Project Saturday Mar 17th, 2018 9:36 AM
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Kaiser senior orthopedic senior technician Dave Gonzalez was injured by Kaiser refusing to properly staff the Stockton office. He then was bullied, harassed and terminated with the pretext that he was improperly looking at patient records.
§Kaiser Oakland Headquarters
by Labor Video Project Saturday Mar 17th, 2018 9:36 AM
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Kaiser which calls itself a "non-profit" pays it's executives tens of millions of dollars and they are also opposed to single payer which their SEIU UHW is also opposing in California.
§Kaiser Orthopedic Technician Darrell Erickson
by Labor Video Project Saturday Mar 17th, 2018 9:36 AM
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Kaiser illegally targeted orthopedic technician Darrell Erickson and as a result he has not only been seriously injured but ended up homeless.
§Kaiser Stockton Hospital
by Labor Video Project Saturday Mar 17th, 2018 9:36 AM
kaiser_stocton.jpg
Although Kaiser was aware that only one orthopedic technician at the Stockton hospital could not handle the load they refused to properly staff the facility and serious injured senior orthopedic technician David Gonzalez. This brutal targeting of the SEIU UHW workers at Kaiser for more profits is well known to many Kaiser workers. The SEIU UHW was also in a labor management partnership with Kaiser for years and refused to process arbitrations because of their relationship with the management.
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