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Nurse Says She Was Fired for Kaiser-Induced Stress

(CN) - Kaiser fired a nurse for complaining about nurse-to-patient ratios, she claims in a Sonoma County Superior Court complaint.

Amy Kohler, 55, was a nurse at Kaiser's Santa Rosa facility. In 2012, she began having anxiety, and "mental" and physical stress related to long work hours and "being assigned to work unfair and unrealistic job assignments," some that "appeared" not to comply with mandated nurse-to-patient ratios under California law, according to the complaint.

She says her immediate supervisor and manager started harassing her, even while she was treating patients, prompting her to file a grievance with her union.

Meanwhile, Kohler said she became so stressed she began seeing a mental health practitioner who diagnosed her with sever depression. Kohler, who was prescribed depression medication, was forced to take time off from work under the Family Medical Leave Act.

She started attending grievance hearings following her return, but the hostile conditions continued, Kohler making repeated requests for the harassment to stop.

Kohler was fired in April 2013, however, under pretextual circumstances, she claims.

"Kaiser ... through its agents and plaintiff's managers, supervisors and others engaged in intentional acts with the intent of discriminating against and harassing plaintiff on account of her physical disability and mental disabilities in violation of the provisions of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act," the complaint states.

She sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan for disability discrimination and harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. She seeks exemplary and compensatory damages, including back pay and attorney's fees.

Kohler is represented by Michael Reed, in Alamo, Calif.

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