Fresno, CA (January 7, 2020). A Tulare County woman filed a lawsuit against California’s largest beef producer—Harris Ranch Beef Company—for illegally firing her when she went on leave to undergo treatment for cancer.
As alleged in the Complaint, Yolanda Alcala worked as a meat trimmer at Harris Ranch Beef Company in Fresno for over 20 years, where she was known as a hardworking and dependable employee who regularly received bonuses for her excellent attendance record.
In 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which required her to take medical leave for surgery and chemotherapy. While she was undergoing treatment, she was summoned to Harris Ranch’s offices and fired on the spot.
“I was just following my doctor’s orders,” Ms. Alcala said. “I didn’t expect to be fired while I was trying to get well.”
Following her termination, Ms. Alcala tried unsuccessfully to get her job back. Since then, Ms. Alcala, who is 61-years old, has struggled to find work.
“My cancer diagnosis was devastating enough.” Ms. Alcala said. “Now I also have to worry about putting food on the table.”
“Harris Ranch callously disregarded the needs of a devoted employee disabled by cancer,” said Alexis Alvarez, Senior Staff Attorney at Legal Aid at Work, who is representing Ms. Alcala in the case.
“Employers like Harris Ranch have not just a moral but also a legal obligation to reasonably accommodate people like Yolanda who need time to recover from their cancer treatments,” said Ms. Alvarez. “They can’t fire them for taking protected leave.”
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About Legal Aid at Work:
Legal Aid at Work is a nonprofit legal services organization that has been assisting low-income, working families for more than 100 years. Its programs conduct outreach, provide direct legal services to thousands of people each year, engage in litigation, and advocate for policies that strengthen the rights of low-income people. More information about Legal Aid at Work can be found at www.legalaidatwork.org.