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Sacramento Employment Law Blog


Kaiser social worker mistreated because she had cancer

Our office recently filed suit on behalf of a Kaiser social worker whose supervisor “disliked” her cancer and forced her to take a demotion.  The lawsuit for harassment and discrimination was filed in Placer County Superior Court.  It was recently published in Courthouse News.

Margo Golston, has been a social worker at Kaiser Hospital since 2002, says in her complaint that she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. When she returned from medical leave following surgery, her supervisor, Jean Friedman, “who had previously had a good working relationship with plaintiff, and disliked the fact that plaintiff needed accommodation of her work schedule.

The supervisor “started to harass and discriminate against plaintiff in an effort to force her to resign her social work position. Jean Friedman, in fact, frequently told plaintiff that she shouldn’t be working in her position because of her medical issues,” the complaint states, and that the supervisor “was merciless in her mistreatment of plaintiff from early 2011 to the end of 2012, when plaintiff was forced by Ms. Friedman to take a demotion to a position outside the hospital in Sacramento.”

Examples of the harassment include when Golston’s chair broke, Friedman “made fun of her by saying, ‘We would all like Lazy Boys and chaise lounges with remote controls,'” and refused to provide a new chair for over a year, Golston says in her complaint. Friedman also made it clear that she intended on moving Golston to another department.  For example, Frieman also told our client that “her ‘niche’ would be leaving the department and working with cancer patients, since it had been a year since her diagnosis.” After Golston refused the transfer, Friedman told her, ‘I’m sick of you; I can’t take this anymore.'”

Margo Golston was  forced to transfer from the work environment she had loved, at least before she had cancer, to a lesser position.  The complaint states “she could no longer stand the harassment by Jean Friedman and could find no other way to escape the harassment. By late 2012, Margo Golston was suffering severe symptoms from the harassment and was close to a complete breakdown.”

Jean Friedman no longer works for Kaiser, and has retired.

Margo Golston is represented by William Wright and Julie Doumit of Sacramento.

Source: Courthouse News, “Woman Says Kaiser Boss Disliked Her Cancer,” by Barbara Wallace, April 24, 2013.