A former employee of the Walt Disney Co. is suing the entertainment giant, alleging she was fired in 2020 in retaliation for taking occasional medical leave to be with her ill son and for complaining about gender discrimination, even though one manager had once called her a “godsend.”
Stephanie Jaramillo’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed Monday and seeks unspecified damages. A Disney representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Jaramillo was hired in November 2007 as a staff assistant and in September 2014 was transferred to a technology infrastructure associate position at Walt Disney Imagineering, the suit states.
The plaintiff received good reviews for her work and in November 2017 a manager stated, “Stephanie has been a godsend,” the suit states.
Jaramillo is a single mother and primary caregiver for a son with health problems and she was granted intermittent medical leave in August 2018 to take care of her son under the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the suit.
Her boss at first was receptive to her leave request and said she could have it for a year, the suit states. She then asked for another year of leave in August 2019, prompting her boss to reply, “I guess I can’t say no,” the suit states.
However, the supervisor became angry and antagonistic and began to retaliate against Jaramillo, showing his frustration by saying such things as, “You’re hardly ever here” and “You don’t work that much,” according to the suit.
Whenever Jaramillo returned from taking an intermittent medical leave, the boss allegedly subjected her to unnecessary criticism, micromanaged her and held her to different standards than other employees.
Jaramillo’s supervisor also isolated Jaramillo from other team members and did not invite her to team meetings, the suit states. He denied her a merit pay increase in 2019 even though she had received one annually since she was hired, according to the suit.
Jaramillo’s supervisor allegedly treated male workers better than he did female employees, so she went to human resources in October 2019 and complained of gender discrimination. She believes numerous other women who work for the same supervisor have also protested about the way he allegedly treats females, according to the suit.
Disney furloughed Jaramillo in April 2019 even though none of her work associates were furloughed and she was fired last Dec. 5, allegedly because of her gender discrimination complaint and due to her taking medical leave to be with her son, according to the suit.