Nurse - Photo courtesy of Unsplash

A nurse is suing a Santa Monica hospital, alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2020 for taking a partial day off to care for her asthmatic son.

Other than her excused partial absence in early December 2020, Nichole M. Goines worked without any issues related to her ability to perform her job, states her Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit against Providence St. John’s Health Center, which alleges wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to engage in an interactive process and provide reasonable accommodation and disability-based associational discrimination.

A Providence representative did not reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Friday, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Goines has worked in the medical field for more than 25 years and was hired at the hospital in November 2020 as an LVN, the suit states. Her son suffers from asthma that requires medical visits and home treatments the plaintiff must administer when his asthma flares up, according to the suit.

On Dec. 9, 2020, Goines was notified that she needed to rush her son to the doctor due to his asthma, so she told her direct supervisor and got approval, the suit states.

“Ms. Goines planned on returning to work the same day after her son’s doctor’s appointment; however, the doctor explained to her that she would need to stay home to administer his asthma treatments,” the suit states.

The asthma treatments required by her son had to be given by an adult and no one else was able to do so other than the plaintiff, according to the suit, which further states that she contacted her boss upon finding out she would not be able to return to work that day.

Goines returned to work the next day, but was fired on Dec. 14, 2020, for having taken part of the day off five days earlier, the suit states.

When Goines asked for an explanation as to why she was being fired, she was told her boss had considered her a “no show/no call” on the day she took time off, the suit states.

Goines had available sick time while she was at home with her son, the suit states, but instead of showing concern for the health of Goines’ son, Providence fired her for taking the time off, the suit alleges.

Goines’ request for reasonable accommodations related to her son’s disability was a “substantial motivating reason” for her firing and she continues to experience lost wages and suffer emotional distress since losing her job, according to the suit.

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