A former longtime employee at a Long Beach hospital, who alleges she was fired in 2017 for testifying on behalf of co-workers who sued the facility, will have to shore up her own lawsuit if she wants to continue with all causes of action, a judge ruled Friday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Feffer ruled that there were not enough facts to support Lisa Jackert’s allegations against Long Beach Medical Center of negligent hiring, retention and supervision or for intentional infliction of emotional distress. She gave Jackert 45 days to filed an amended suit.
The plaintiff’s other allegations of retaliation, discrimination based on association with a member of a protected class and wrongful termination will remain in the case for now.
Hospital attorney Kevin S. Kim argued in his court papers that Jackert had already been given enough chances to fix the lawsuit and that her testimony in the other lawsuit was not enough to support her claim for discrimination based on association with a member of a protected class.
Jackert’s lawyer, Maryann P. Gallagher, told the judge the hospital has been slow to turn over requested information, but Kim said the facility was in fact working hard to do so. Feffer said the coronavirus is having a serious impact on all hospitals and that management should do the best it can to provide the discovery sought by the plaintiffs.
Jackert was employed for 15 years by the hospital, which was acquired by MemorialCare in 2011, according to her suit filed in June 2019.
In August 2016, Jackert testified as a plaintiffs’ witness in trial of a civil suit involving allegations that Keith Kohl, the program manager of the hospital’s psychiatric unit, had subjected the plaintiffs to sexual harassment and discrimination, the Jackert suit states.
Kohl was gay and allegedly gave preferential treatment to men and used sexually explicit language in the workplace, according to the Jackert suit.
Jackert was herself a program coordinator for MemorialCare when she testified in the trial of the other case, her suit states.
“Ms. Jackert testified truthfully that she had written a letter of complaint to human resources about Keith Kohl, who had outed two other doctors, that Kohl was complaining the hospital was homophobic (and) that Kohl had posted the cover of a gay magazine on the bulletin board of the break room,” the Jackert suit states.
Jackert also had told human resources in the letter that others who were present in the meeting where Kohl made the alleged comments were offended, but were afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs, according to the suit.
After Jackert testified, her supervisor told her they were going to take away her job as a program coordinator and make her the case manager of the inpatient mental health unit, the Jackert suit states. Jackert was worried she did not have the medical training necessary to handle the cases, but her boss told her she did not need it, according to the suit.
“She was being demoted to another position for which she had no training or experience to give (hospital management) an excuse to terminate her,” the Jackert suit alleges.
In 2016, in retaliation for participating as a witness in the other trial, hospital management told Jackert she would have to go back to her old program coordinator job and get paid less, the Jackert suit states.
Jackert was fired in December 2017 and believes she lost her job in retaliation for testifying in the other case. She was not given a severance or retention bonus even though they were given to other departing employees, her suit states.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: