Treasure Island Job Corps worker files disability discrimination case
Federal contractor allegedly fired her for taking medical leave, using a cane
A residential coordinator for a company that runs Job Corps centers nationwide for the U.S. Department of Labor filed a federal discrimination and retaliation lawsuit today alleging that the company fired her for taking medical leave and requesting accommodations in order to return to work.
Martha Daniels, who worked for Adams and Associates, Inc. at the Treasure Island Job Corps Center in San Francisco from 2009 to 2014, is represented by Bryan Schwartz Law and Legal Aid at Work.
Ms. Daniels supervised female residents of a dorm at the center, which provides low-income teenagers and young adults with housing, counseling, and education and career training at no cost. She quickly earned the respect and friendship of the young women in her care and frequently went beyond her required job duties — spending her own money to throw graduation parties for students who had no family or whose family would not attend, for example.
The complaint alleges that after undergoing knee surgery and taking medical leave to recuperate, Ms. Daniels was told when she returned to work that using a cane to improve her mobility was “against company policy.” Ms. Daniels twice suffered flare-ups that required her to take additional medical leave. The complaint also alleges that her return was met with hostility, delays, and a concerted effort to force her out, and she eventually was terminated.
“I was just following my doctor’s orders,” Ms. Daniels says. “I didn’t expect to be fired while I was trying to return to work.” She has struggled to find new fulltime work: “It was devastating for me to lose the job I loved,” she says. “I believe I was treated differently because of my disability.”
“The suit alleges the employer callously disregarded the needs of a devoted, disabled employee, instead of accommodating her,” says Bryan Schwartz, who has represented hundreds of disabled workers around the country. He added, “It is unfortunate that we will have to turn to the court for relief.”
Jinny Kim, director of Legal Aid at Work’s Disability Rights Program, adds: “Employers have an obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate their employees with disabilities. Employees should not be punished or terminated for taking leave.”
About Bryan Schwartz Law:
Bryan Schwartz Law (www.bryanschwartzlaw.com) is dedicated to continuing the struggle for civil rights and equality of employment opportunity and helping Americans from every background to achieve their highest career potential. The firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars in individual, class, and collective actions involving discrimination and retaliation, harassment, denied disability accommodations, whistleblower reprisal, wage and hour violations, Federal employees’ rights, and severance negotiations.
About Legal Aid at Work:
Legal Aid at Work delivers on the promise of justice for low-income people. We provide free direct services through our clinics and helplines. We offer extensive legal information for free online and in trainings, we litigate individual and class actions, and we advocate for new policies and laws. Details: www.legalaidatwork.org.