Barbara Zaragoza 3:01 p.m., June 27
Longtime Kaiser employee claims wrongful termination
A 15 year employee of healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente has filed suit against the company for wrongful termination, discrimination, libel, and a host of other matters related to her firing in May.
Antionette Abram claims that two other employees at Kaiser’s Clairemont Mesa laboratory became openly hostile with her in 2010, an expressed an intent to “cause her problems in the workplace,” according to Abram’s complaint.
Responsible for making sure the laboratory was clear and all samples processed that day had been shipped out before leaving work, Abram says that the other employees intentionally hid and/or discarded samples, then retrieved them before she arrived at work in the morning and placed them in random locations, creating the appearance that she had not properly performed her closing tasks the day prior.
Complaints to management and her union representative did not help matters for several months, the complaint continues. In July of 2010, one of the harassing coworkers left a collection of blood samples unattended, in violation of Kaiser policy and witnessed by several of Abram’s other coworkers. She and the others then elevated the complaint to a higher-ranking supervisor. The incident resulted in the termination of the worker, though when the second supervisor was transferred out of the lab Abram says her immediate boss Linda Mercurio was angry about having the failures in her department exposed to senior management and began seeking a reason to terminate her.
The harassment continues, Abram claims, including in a meeting with a union rep after she’d been placed on involuntary leave and was accused of “stealing company property” for using water obtained at her office building to rinse off the window of her car.
Abram seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as to have her employment at Kaiser reinstated.