On July 14, 2017, LVBH won an award of both compensatory and emotional distress damages on behalf of Janet Check, a long term employee of Raley’s grocery store. Ms. Check had worked for Raley’s for 32 years, primarily as a bookkeeper. Despite her many years of loyal service, when Ms. Check returned to work after a short medical leave, Raley’s refused to accommodate her, forcing her to take an extended leave of absence. Although Raley’s eventually allowed Ms. Check to return to work, she was not permitted to return to her previous schedule, and her hours were cut, resulting in lost wages. After a month-long trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ms. Check, finding that that Raley’s had engaged in disability discrimination, failed to reasonable accommodate the Plaintiff, failed to enter into the interactive process and failed to prevent discrimination.
The jury awarded over $100,000, including all past wage loss plus $70,000 for emotional distress. This represents a substantial award in light of Ms. Check’s continuing employment with Raley’s. The trial team representing Ms. Check’s was Leslie Levy, Darci Burrell and Jennifer Sta. Ana.
This is the second major victory by the LVBH team against a major grocery chain on behalf of an employee with disabilities. The earlier case, A.M. v. Albertsons, set legal precedent by establishing the rule that an employer may be held liable for a single failure to accommodate an employee even if it has delivered promised accommodations on other occasions.