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California Nurse Sues After Being Fired For Taking Too Much Medical Leave

A California mother who required intermittent medical leave to care for two sons and her husband recently filed an employment lawsuit against Kaiser. The woman, a vocational nurse for Kaiser since 2010, was fired in retaliation for exercising her right to medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), among other claims, according to her lawsuit.

According to her supervisors, 32-year-old Micaiah Tafai was let go after she allegedly submitted a false time card. The same supervisors had consistently harassed Tafai during the course of her employment for taking time off to care for her family members, one who had asthma, one who had diabetes and one with chronic back pain due to a life in the construction industry. Kaiser itself has policies for handling employee issues, but they were not followed in the course of firing Tafai for the alleged timecard problem.

Tafai had secured approval to take medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act as needed to care for her family members, but her supervisor routinely denied her requests for ‘staffing reasons’ even if the time off was planned in advance. Tafai herself came down with appendicitis and was forced to undergo emergency treatment. She was denied the two weeks off needed to recover from the serious surgery and medical event.

Tafai sought protection from her union, but was fired shortly thereafter. She is suing Kaiser for failing harassment and retaliation for taking medical leave, for failing to accommodate a known disability and for failing to participate in the interactive process, among other claims.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Mom Says Kaiser Fired Her for Caring for Kids,” June 5, 2013

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