Kaiser Demoted Guard for Disability, He Says
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (CN) - Kaiser and its security services company Kaiser demoted a security guard because he wore doctor-prescribed tinted glasses, he claims in Marin County Court.
Kiasha Martone sued Securitas Security Services, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente International for employment harassment, discrimination, retaliation and failure to prevent harassment and discrimination.
According to Martone's complaint, Securitas hired him as a security guard at Kaiser's San Rafael facility around Dec. 2010. When his doctor prescribed tinted glasses for an eye problem, he was demoted, given an unfavorable shift assignment, and then put on unpaid leave where he remains to this day, he says.
"In 2011, plaintiff was diagnosed with photosensitivity requiring him to wear glasses with a tinted lens both inside and outside. Plaintiff provided the doctor's recommendation to his supervisor at defendant Securitas. Despite the doctor's note stating the need to wear glasses with a tinted lens plaintiff's supervisor told him on multiple occasions 'not to wear the glasses,'" the complaint states.
Martone says he had specialized training to work in the emergency room, qualifying him for higher pay than regular security guards, but "defendants removed plaintiff from the emergency room, effectively demoting him to the regular security position and the lower pay rate," the complaint states.
In March 2012, Martone says he filed a disability discrimination complaint against Securitas with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The parties resolved the dispute and plaintiff returned to his position as Security Officer in May 2012, according to the complaint.
But still, Martone "was subjected to repeated harassment by supervisors and co-workers of defendant Securitas and defendant Kaiser. Nurses instructed plaintiff he was forbidden from entering the emergency room of the hospital because of his tinted glasses. Other nurses directed plaintiff to avoid certain floors," his complaint states.
Martone "was repeatedly mocked for wearing glasses with a tinted lens. Supervisors and co-workers did not ask plaintiff why he was wearing dark glasses or if he had a medical condition. Instead, plaintiff heard comments that he was 'creepy' and 'scary.' As a result of the harassment, plaintiff suffered emotional distress which manifested itself in physical symptoms such as anxiety and migraines," the complaint states.
Martone says he complained to Securitas and to Kaiser's nursing supervisor, but instead of solving the problem, Securitas told him "that due to his need to wear glasses with a tinted lens the only shift available to him was the graveyard shift," midnight to 8:00 a.m.
"The schedule change had a negative impact on plaintiff's health. Plaintiff began experiencing headaches and insomnia. Plaintiff was treated by his health care provider for his complaints and the doctor recommended plaintiff work a day or swing shift," the complaint states. Martone informed Securitas, which took him off the graveyard shift "due to safety concerns," but never gave him another shift, according to the complaint.
"Plaintiff has been on un-paid leave since Feb. 20, 2014," the May 20 complaint states.
Martone seeks compensatory damages for lost wages, earnings and benefits, general damages for humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress, consequential and punitive damages, penalties, attorneys' fees and costs. He is represented by Sara Wilson and Godfrey J. Tencer, both of San Rafael.