LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Craig Sipp, a former employee of The Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT), has filed eleven claims against the homeless-aid organization relating to alleged disability discrimination and wrongful termination based thereof.
In March 2018, after almost eight years of employment with SRHT, Sipp was diagnosed with colon cancer and a mass on his liver. After learning of his diagnosis, Sipp informed his immediate supervisor, Mimi Skinner, of his condition; he then requested medical leave to accommodate the conditions and disabilities stemming from planned rigorous chemotherapy treatment. Skinner, upon receiving Sipp’s news, told him to, “don’t worry about your employment,” and, at that time, did not ask Sipp to provide medical documentation of his treatment.
On May 1st of 2018, however, Sipp received a letter from Skinner wherein Skinner informed him that his leave of absence had been only provisionally designated as a medical leave and that if he did not return to work by July 23, 2018, he would be terminated. Sipp, however, was hospitalized during this period for complications stemming from his diagnosis and informed Skinner that he could not return to work by this deadline.
After beginning chemotherapy treatment with a cancer specialist in May 2018, Skinner again contacted Skipp and informed him that if he did not return to work by the new deadline of August 8, 2018, he would be terminated from SRHT. Having just begun treatment for his condition, Sipp told Skinner he would be unable to return to work that soon. At this point, Skinner demanded that Sipp supply a doctor’s note validating his condition and indicating that he could, in fact, not return to work. On August 1st, Sipp provided the note asked for, which validated that from July 30th, 2018 onwards, Sipp could not work.
Despite providing the necessary documentation asked for by Skinner, and acting as an exemplary employee who received strong annual performance reviews and numerous promotions during his employment at SRHT, Sipp was notified of his termination on August 24th, 2018. In the termination letter, written by Human Resources Manager Veronica Garcia, it was intentionally and fraudulently misrepresented that Sipp’s termination had been voluntary and that Sipp no longer qualified for any additional leave under federal or state family/medical leave laws. What is more, this letter also informed Sipp that his health insurance coverage would terminate on August 31st, 2018, one week after Sipp received this letter.
The lawsuit alleges that SRHT acted with reckless disregard towards Sipp’s health and safety by terminating Sipp’s employment, failing to accommodate his disability and medical condition, failing to engage in the interactive process, and interfering and retaliating against his medical leave under the CFRA and FMLA.
The lawsuit is pending in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, Central District.
Every day, employees are subjected to workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other forms of abuse. Shegerian & Associates prides itself on representing these workers and helping them find the justice they deserve. Carney Shegerian has been recognized with the 2013 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award and has won 80 jury trials, fighting for workers rights.
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