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Worker Claims Kaiser Fired Her Unfairly

FRESNO, Calif. (CN) - A Kaiser Permanente Hospital fired a worker for complaining about sexual harassment and taking FMLA leave to care for her sick husband, she claims in court.

Janice Manning sued Kaiser Permanente International and Juan Hernandez, in Superior Court.

Kaiser hired her as a nursing assistant in 2001 and promoted her to unit assistant in 2004, Manning says in the complaint. She says Hernandez, also a unit assistant, trained her for her new job.

"In or around 2009, defendant Hernandez approached plaintiff, without any provocation, and directed plaintiff to look at his genitals," the complaint states.

Manning claims that "Hernandez had subjected other defendant Kaiser employees to such conduct, however, when those female employees reported defendant Hernandez's conduct defendant Kaiser never investigated or took any steps to remedy the situation. Therefore, plaintiff knew her complaint to defendant Kaiser would be futile."

Manning says her husband was hospitalized with heart disease in 2010, and his doctor authorized her to take three Family Medical Leave Act says off each month to care for him. She submitted the FMLA request to Kaiser and took off Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 2010.

Kaiser fired her on Dec. 16, 2010 "because she allegedly called out sick" on those two days. She told her boss that she had not called in sick; she had taken FMLA leave, but Kaiser fired her anyway.

Manning says Kaiser fired her "on the basis of her sex, in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment ... [and] because she needed to have FMLA leave to take care of her husband and that defendant Kaiser found it more convenient to replace plaintiff with an employee that would not need FMLA leave."

She seeks damages and punitive damages for sex discrimination, disability discrimination, harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, retaliation, wrongful termination and violation of the California Family Rights Act and Family Medical Leave Act.

She is represented by Joseph Lovretovich, of Woodland Hills.

Kaiser Permanente has been sued 46 times this year on employment claims, according to the Courthouse News database.

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