Thursday, November 1, 2012

Judge Backs Worker’s Lawsuit against SEIU-UHW and Kaiser Permanente over Meth-Snorting Supervisor

Remember the hospital worker’s lawsuit about her meth-snorting supervisor at a Kaiser hospital in California?

In July, the worker sued Kaiser Permanente for illegally terminating her after she complained to H.R. that her supervisor was snorting crystal meth while running the hospital’s Admitting Department. She also sued SEIU-UHW for failing to defend her against Kaiser’s illegal firing (this is called a breach of SEIU-UHW’s “duty of fair representation” or “a DFR.”)

Soon after the worker filed her lawsuit, Kaiser and SEIU-UHW teamed up to try to kill the suit. But just two days ago, the worker won an important victory when a federal judge delivered a legal smackdown to Kaiser and SEIU-UHW. The smackdown came in the form of a 17-page decision that rejects Kaiser/SEIU’s efforts to toss the lawsuit.

Tasty has posted the full decision below. Also, here’s a news story about the judge’s action: “Fired Kaiser Worker Can Pursue Retaliation Case.”

The ruling offers another interesting glimpse at SEIU-UHW’s horrific, ongoing failure to support and defend its members. Tasty has received countless emails from Kaiser workers who’ve been unjustly terminated because Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW has simply refused to help them.

According to the judge’s ruling, the worker who filed the suit had a spotless employment record during her 10 years on the job. After she was unjustly disciplined by Kaiser, SEIU-UHW prohibited her from speaking at grievance meetings, failed to inform her about scheduled grievance meetings, and failed to request any records from management so she could defend herself against Kaiser’s false accusations. SEIU-UHW even twisted her arm to try to get her to withdraw her grievance.

And then... SEIU-UHW officials simply dropped her case. Here’s an excerpt from the judge’s ruling:

On January 12, 2012, a union representative informed Plaintiff ‘that her case had no merit,’ and that UHW was withdrawing the grievance. The representative offered no further explanation of why the UHW had concluded her grievance was without merit. (p. 6)

According to the worker, SEIU-UHW and Kaiser were actively in cahoots with each other:

Plaintiff alleges that both Kaiser and the UHW were aware of Ms. Taylor’s drug problems, and knew that Plaintiff’s complaints about Ms. Taylor spurred retaliation that led to her termination. (p. 6)

Here’s another excerpt describing the worker’s charges against SEIU:

Plaintiff has alleged… that the UHW's investigation of her grievance was merely perfunctory, indeed virtually nonexistent, and that its action evinced a 'reckless disregard' of Plaintiff's rights. (p. 14)

So what’s next? The judge has ordered SEIU-UHW, Kaiser and the worker to appear at a case-management conference in federal court on December 14. Court records indicate that SEIU-UHW is being represented by two of its hack attorneys: Bruce Harland and Yuri Gottesman of Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld.

Congrats to the Kaiser worker for taking on Kaiser and SEIU-UHW... and for winning her first, important victory in the legal battle!