Los Angeles Unsafe Workplace Employment Attorney Jeffrey Cowan
$100,000 Settlement for Employee Victim of Disability Discrimination and Retaliation for Opposing Unsafe, Violent Conditions in the Workplace
A local restaurant employed a hostess whose duties included standing outside to attract and talk to potential customers. The area has many mentally ill homeless people. One day, a mentally ill homeless woman attacked our client and some customers while she was working. The police were called. The restaurant then refused the hostess’s requests for permission to come inside if she saw homeless people who appeared potentially violent. The employer restaurant knew that because she had been a victim of violence in the workplace, the hostess was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a kind of disability. See Jenson v. Wells Fargo Bank, 85 Cal. App. 4th 245, 258 (2000)). Nevertheless, the restaurant failed to give the employee an option to file a workers compensation claim. It also refused to find its hostess a replacement to cover her shifts while she sought psychotherapy given the restaurant’s refusal to let her come inside if she saw homeless people who appeared violent. When the employee’s manager threatened to fire her, the employee asked the restaurant’s owner for help. The restaurant fired her.
Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorney Jeffrey Cowen
The fired hostess then hired Los Angeles employment trial lawyer Jeffrey Cowan. Mr. Cowan determined that our client had claims for disability discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and wrongful termination in violation of public policy and in violation of Labor Code Section 6310(b). Mr. Cowan then worked to find police records evidencing that the similar prior incidents had occurred. He also “bird-dogged” current employees who had witnessed the incident and got a sworn statement from one of them. Mr. Cowan then offered to share his evidence at a pre-litigation mediation with the employer and also threatened to sue the employer for violations of California Labor Code § 6310(b) and for disability discrimination as codified in California Government Code § 12940. The employer accepted the offer to do a pre-litigation mediation — which resulted in a $100,000 settlement for our client.