Sharp Health Plan wrongfully terminated two employees who were eight months pregnant this fall because the women planned to take legally protected pregnancy leave, a new lawsuit filed by Haeggquist & Eck attorneys Alreen Haeggquist and Aaron Olsen alleges.
Plaintiffs Natali Osuna and Veronica Osuna, who had respectively worked for Sharp for 11 years and five years as enrollment specialists within the company’s finance division and had consistent histories of stellar performance reviews, were both pregnant and due to give birth around September 2016. Both planned to take protected leaves of absence through January 2017, which happened to coincide with Sharp’s plans to implement Healthedge, a new integrated software system for processing health insurance claims and applications.
The case alleges that in July, the plaintiffs were notified that they would be laid off because their department was closing. But a mere four hours after they were given the news, Sharp began posting jobs that were essentially identical to theirs, but just using the new system. Sharp planned to conduct training on the new system during plaintiffs’ planned maternity leaves, with full implementation to take place in January 2017. Both women applied for every available position they were qualified for within Sharp system and were turned down for each, according to the complaint.
“Sharp dealt our clients a stunning blow by terminating them – and leaving them without health insurance – when they were eight months pregnant,” Haeggquist & Eck Managing Partner Alreen Haeggquist said. “It wasn’t convenient for Sharp to have our clients out on legally protected leave during the company’s planned implementation of new software, so Sharp just callously cast them aside on the pretext of closing their department. What should have been a beautiful time for these women became incredibly stressful, and we look forward to vindicating their interests in court.”
The case alleges violations of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) Laws, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Osuna v. Sharp Health Plan is pending in San Diego Superior Court.
EMPLOYEES: If you believe you have been discriminated or retaliated against at work because you are pregnant or took protected medical leave, click here to contact the employee rights attorneys at Haeggquist & Eck for a free consultation.