Nurse Diagnosed with Breast Cancer Was Harassed, Refused Treatment and Finally Fired -- by her Hospital

Human Rights

A California nurse has claimed in court that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and required time off and chemotherapy treatment, her employer, Kaiser Hospital, demoted her, forced her to work through lunch hours to make up for time spent at chemo sessions and assigned her to work in the flu division despite doctors warning her that exposure to flu infection could kill her, Courthouse News reported.

Petra Albert from Los Angeles, CA, has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and affiliates for the merciless abuse and mistreatment she suffered at the hands of her employer whilst working as a nurse.

The claim states: "Before her return, Ms. Albert's doctors warned her that chemotherapy could seriously weaken her immune system and exposure to infections such as the flu could be disastrous or even fatal. Kaiser, however, did not attempt to accommodate Ms. Albert but rather put her in charge of the flu program, putting her health at serious risk.”

Albert, who has 25 years experience working in the nursing field was hired by Kaiser in 2009 as a nurse educator, was promoted within a year for successful performance. However, she was soon diagnosed with breast cancer and required a double mastectomy in 2010. 

Albert alleges that after she returned to work following her reconstructive surgery she received no accommodation, but instead was met with insults, hostility and callous comments about her cancer and forced to return to working 60 hours a week within the same month as surgery.

Moreover, she claims that her supervisor threatened her that if she didn’t quit her job and continued to work for Kaiser, “Ms. Albert would hate her life.”  

In October 2011 after her white blood cells dropped considerably, the nurse took another leave of absence involving more chemotherapy.  This time when she returned to work, she was called to a meeting where she was ridiculed before being forcibly banished to another hospital location. Kaiser subsequently refused any further requests for time-off for chemotherapy and fired her.

Consequently, Albert has filed suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking general and special damages.

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