A woman sued an El Sereno pharmacy Tuesday, alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2022 for not getting vaccinated against the coronavirus even though she gave her supervisors a doctor’s note telling her not to get the shot while she was breastfeeding.
Marlene Hernandez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Portola Pharmacy alleges disability discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to accommodate and engage in the interactive process and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Portola Pharmacy representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hernandez was hired as a clerk in late 2018 or early 2019 at the North Eastern Avenue business and gave birth to a baby girl in October 2021, the suit states. She was given six weeks leave and later went on disability until this past September because of post-partum depression, the suit states.
Less than a month before her return, Hernandez’s supervisor told her she needed to have the coronavirus shots before she returned to her job and ordered her to come back by Sept. 16, the suit states.
Hernandez texted her supervisor to say she could not get the vaccine until she was done breastfreeding, to which her boss responded that she would need a doctor’s note documenting her claim and that she would have to be regularly tested if she remained unvaccinated, the suit states.
Hernandez subsequently obtained the requested doctor’s note proving that she was not medically cleared to get the coronavirus shots and the plaintiff forwarded it to her supervisor, the suit states.
Hernandez’s boss acknowledged receipt of the plaintiff’s doctor’s note, then the same day sent the plaintiff a letter stating she was being terminated for not complying with the pharmacy’s vaccination policy, according to the suit.
The plaintiff has suffered substantial losses of wages, salary, benefits and additional amounts of money that she would have received if pharmacy management had not discriminated against her, the suit states.