A former laundry worker at a Glendale convalescent hospital is suing the business, alleging her boss told her the facility did not provide light duty work for employees expecting a baby and ultimately fired her in 2019 for being pregnant and asking for work restrictions.
Stephanie Salcedo-Arenas’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Glenoaks Convalescent Hospital on Glenoaks Boulevard as well as her former boss, Richard Dizon, and hospital owner Henry Levine.
The plaintiff’s allegations include discrimination and harassment on the basis of pregnancy, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit filed Monday seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Levine could not be immediately reached.
Salcedo-Arenas, 23, was hired in February 2019, became expectant during her employment and went on leave from June 21-25 because her doctors said her pregnancy was considered high-risk, the suit states. She was given work restrictions that forbade physical activities such as squatting, bending and lifting more than 10 to 25 pounds, the suit states.
Salcedo-Arenas told Dizon about the pregnancy, provided him with her doctor’s restriction order and asked to be accommodated, the suit states.
Dizon looked at the note and said, “We are going to have issues because of your pregnancy and restrictions,” according to the suit.
Dizon left and returned a short time later, telling the plaintiff that Levine did not like the doctor’s work restrictions and said she needed to go back and get them removed, the suit states.
Her boss also said she would be fired if the restrictions could not be eliminated, the suit alleges.
“We don’t provide light duty work for pregnant people,” Dizon said, according to the suit.
The plaintiff complained to Dizon that it would be unfair and illegal to fire her because of her pregnancy and she assured her boss that she could perform all her job duties if she were provided help with lifting wet clothing, the suit states.
But Dizon answered, “No, we don’t want people to think we are giving you special treatment. Just go talk to your doctor,” according to the suit.
Last July, Salcedo-Arenas asked her doctor if her work restrictions could be removed because she did not want to lose her job, but the physician said he could not do so because of her high-risk pregnancy, the suit states. However, the doctor did adjust the weight restriction and removed the other restrictions, the suit states.
Salcedo-Arenas updated Dizon about her work restrictions, but he told her, “You were supposed to come back with no restrictions,” the suit states.
Dizon left and said he wanted to talk with Levine, then came back about 10 minutes later and told Salcedo-Arenas, “You are fired because of your restrictions. Your restrictions are no good,” according to the suit.
Last August, Levine gave Salcedo-Arenas a letter stating in part that she was eligible to return to work when her physician released the work restrictions, the suit states.
The letter “shows a direct nexus between Salcedo-Arenas’s pregnancy and the reason for her termination,” the suit states.
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