San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 27, 2016 - A former merchandizer who began working at Home Depot in April 2013 has sued the company for disability discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, on July 28.
Guadalupe Carbajal was injured in a workplace fall on February 2, 2015. She suffered pain in her right knee, right hip and lower back, according to the complaint. Her supervisor allegedly did not let her see a doctor the following day. She also delayed providing Carbajal with paperwork for a medical claim for 20 days.
Carbajal’s doctor placed her on modified work status in which she was initially restricted to pushing and pulling 10 pounds, standing up to 30 minutes per hour and minimal stair use. Carbajal was also not allowed to squat, kneel or climb ladders.
“Home Depot failed to provide reasonable accommodation for Ms. Carbajal’s physical disability so that she could perform her key job duties while her doctor’s prescribed work restrictions were in place,” commented attorney Jason M. Erlich of McCormack and Erlich, a San Francisco-based employment law firm, who is representing the plaintiff.
When Carbajal informed her supervisor about the work restrictions she said, “You’re not well yet? You’re still going to the doctor? Well, we have work to do.” Carbajal continued to work as directed without accommodation despite her pain being aggravated by her job duties.
In July 2015 Carbajal informed a company HR representative that her work restrictions were not being honored. However, Home Depot denied the plaintiff’s requests of transfer to a different position that would better suit her work restrictions.
Carbajal returned to full duty without restrictions in September 2015 once her condition improved. Because she had applied for workers’ compensation benefits, Home Depot was given a Work and Disability Status report in December 2015. It said Carbajal was permitted to work with certain restrictions.
After receiving the report, Carbajal’s new supervisor sent her home with instructions to go on disability leave. Since then, Home Depot has made no attempt to respond to Carbajal’s numerous requests to return to work. The plaintiff alleged Home Depot’s actions were in retaliation for opposing the company’s unlawful employment practices, disability policies and failure to accommodate her physical disability.
“The lawsuit alleges that Home Depot refused to engage in any meaningful discussion about the disability, as required by law,” said Erlich. “Instead, they chose to fire her even though they were aware the disability would not interfere with her ability to perform the essential responsibilities of the job.”
Carbajal is seeking lost wages, benefits, damages for emotional distress and attorney’s fees. She is also asking for an injunction against the defendants from engaging in the unlawful practices detailed in the complaint.
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