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Retaliation or Discrimination?

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  • Retaliation or Discrimination?

    California Law - Section 132a?

    Broke my wrist on the job in January this year. Did the workers comp thing for 5 months as there were/are complications. Asked my doctor to put me on temp PARTIAL disability so I could go back to work with minor restrictions. It took me about a month to get my employer to return my calls - stopped in and finally sent an email requesting that I be put back on the schedule. When they finally answered they specifically asked what my schedule preferences were. I stated that I wanted at least 3 days a week, and would prefer not to work both Sat. and Sunday every weekend. They said they could accommodate me and stopped my WC benefits.

    I work at a Pet Resort as pet daycare (babysitting) staff. Every shift requires a small dog person, large dog person, housekeeping/maintenance and office staff - 7 days a week. Due to my lifting/weight restrictions I needed to be scheduled with small dogs, but other than that did the job in full.

    From the time I returned, my employer played games with my hours, many times not even giving me the minimum required by law (85% of what hours I was getting before the injury.) They would schedule new hires with many more hours. When I originally started, before the injury, I was part time with the understanding that I would become full time as the business grew (they were brand new, opened a month before I started.) I had been training for the front office staff position. I was also asked if I would be willing to complete the Pet Technician certification, and I agreed.

    In addition, they had me on the printed schedule segregated as a part time worker, along with an on-call employee and high school volunteer, even though 80% of their employees are part time. Even new hires were not separated out like this. Day to day going to work was uncomfortable, as they made me feel that I was only there because they legally had to have me there. I was accused of "reporting" the business to WC because I had called WC to find out about the minimum hour requirements.

    One week I was scheduled for two days, Monday and Friday. On Monday the schedule had been revised and my Friday hours were removed. Thursday that week they called me to see if I could come in for someone who didn't show, and I did, only to notice that they had posted a mandatory employee meeting for the following day. I had an appointment scheduled that I couldn't change at this late time.

    At that point I approached the owner about all these issues. I was told that I was considered a "different" part time due to my injury. He told me he couldn't accommodate me with hours because I couldn't do the job in full - which was not correct other than the small dog issue that they needed someone to do every day anyway. He stated that because I was a "different" part time employee I wasn't invited to the staff meeting. I also questioned the certification as other employees were getting certified, and was told that it wasn't required, that those employees had specifically asked to do it - and even then it wasn't offered to me as an option. An argument ensued and I was told that if I didn't like it I should just quit.

    I assume he called his attorney, because as I was leaving for the day he stopped me. He had decided it was ok for me to attend the staff meeting, but as I had told him earlier I had an appointment I couldn't cancel at the last minute. He asked me if I was willing to work 5 days a week, even though just a few hours earlier he told me he couldn't even give me the minimum required hours because of the injury. I of course said I wanted as many hours as he would give, as I wanted to be full time from the very beginning. The conversation was left there, I thought that maybe things would change.

    When I got to work the day after the staff meeting, I was handed a letter along with a list of job descriptions and requirements. The letter stated my position as Pet Care Tech I, and stated I was required to complete the Pet Technician certification within 45 days to keep my position. Interesting as just two days earlier I was told it was not required. Also interesting was that in talking to other employees, I found out they were given 60 days to complete it.

    As the weeks went on I was getting only the minimum hours unless they called me in last minute to cover someone else's hours, and new hires were constantly given more hours and better work schedules. The atmosphere did not change for the better. My normal hours were usually Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, but then were changed to Sat. Sun, and a varied weekday. When I approached him to ask that he schedule me for a weekend off just once in awhile, he stated that it was impossible due to my disability. RIDICULOUS! I am apparently so disabled that they schedule me for the busiest days - makes sense? They had also made a last minute schedule change that caused me a problem due to a doctors appointment - I had confirmed my schedule the Thurssay, made the appointment on Friday for the following Monday, and got to work on Saturday to see that they had now scheduled me for that Monday. Again, that gave me no opportunity to reschedule the appointment with any notice, and I told him I couldn't work Monday.

    When I left that afternoon, his wife accused me of scratching myself off the schedule, and was pretty nasty about it when I told her the situation, and that her husband had done it.

    I decided on my way home that I didn't deserve this treatment, so I called them and quit. It is 11 days later and I still have not gotten my final check, I asked them to mail it. I'm waiting to see when it was postmarked (if??) because I know it had to be postmarked 72 hours after I quit, which was regular payday anyway.

    My question is, do I have a discrimination case? The only real solid proof I have is a copy of the schedule with me segregated out as part time, and showing a new hire with more hours and listed with the regular employees.

    Thanks for any information you can offer.

  • #2
    Discrimination on the basis of Workers Compensation

    Your circumstances certainly sound suspicious. Contact the California Department of Workers Compensation on their procedures to file a complaint of discrimination.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator


    • #3
      Discrimination Form

      Here is the link to the appropriate form to file a complaint of retaliation in California.
      Lillian Connell

      Forum Moderator


      • #4
        Thank you

        I appreciate your time in answering this and locating that link for me.


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