Partner Leslie Levy brought two cases against BART on behalf of passengers with disabilities. These cases have made the system more accessible to the people with disabilities who rely on BART trains for transportation. Because of one lawsuit, BART installed edge detection rubber flooring at all of its stations to assist people who are blind or visually impaired. The second lawsuit forced BART to provide automated independent access for disabled passengers to all BART station elevators.
A woman who missed work because of her serious health condition was fired by her employer under its “no fault” absence policy. Partner Jean Hyams filed suit on her behalf. The employer ended up footing the bill for the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and paying the plaintiff money damages to avoid a jury trial.
In a case arbitrated pursuant to a mandatory employment arbitration agreement, partners Jean Hyams and Leslie Levy won a case for a woman who was terminated from her job after taking time off as medical leave. Since the termination took place as part of a major corporate reorganization and the layoff of hundreds of people, the attorneys had to prove that she was singled out and fired for unlawful reasons.
For more than a dozen years, Alejandro Muñoz worked as a year-round Laborer/Groundskeeper at the Golden Gate Fields. He injured his knee at work. In 2015, Muñoz had a knee replacement. Thereafter, his doctor released him to work with no restrictions, because his doctor believe that Mr. Muñoz could perform all the essential functions of his job. Mr. Muñoz returned to work. A few hours later, his supervisor sent him home and, despite promises to the contrary, he was never returned to work. As a result , he filed suit alleging disability discrimination, based on a perceived disability, and failure to enter into a good faith interactive process. These violations caused Mr. Muñoz to suffer economic damages and emotional distress. Leslie Levy and Jennifer Sta.Ana of LVBH, along with Conchita Lozano-Batista of Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld, represent Mr. Muñoz. A complaint is current pending in Alameda County Superior Court.
Partner Sharon Vinick, along with co-counsel Jennifer Liu and Rebecca Peterson-Fisher of The Liu Law Firm PC, have filed a case on behalf of Carlo Teruel, a firefighter who worked for the American Canyon Fire Protection District and the City of America Canyon. Mr. Teruel came to work in American Canyon after previously serving as a firefighter for the City of Berkeley. The complaint alleges that Mr. Teruel was terminated because he exercised his legal right to take time off to care for the medical needs of his wife and two small children. Approximately one month before Mr. Teruel was to complete his probationary period and become a permanent employee, the Fire Protection District fired him without warning or explanation.
The lawsuit includes claims that the employer committed violations of the California Family Rights Act and the California Kin Care Act (Labor Code Section 233). The complaint also asserts that the termination discriminated against Mr. Teruel because he is a male caregiver and because the employer expected him to conform to gender stereotypes of men acting as breadwinners and not caregivers for their children.
Partner Leslie Levy filed a complaint on behalf of a disabled African American woman who was employed at a Bay Area nursing home facility. The employee was denied approved disability leave and subjected to differential treatment because of her race. Additionally, the employer failed to provide basic accommodations for the employee, such as wheelchair accessible bathrooms. The employer terminated the worker following her complaints and replaced her with a non-disabled, non-African American employee. The matter settled in the mid-six figures.
A corporate employee of Wells Fargo filed suit alleging that the bank failed to transfer him to a new position after a stroke left him unable to perform his original job. LVBH lawyers Jean Hyams and Rebecca Kagin represented the employee. This is not the first case where Wells Fargo was sued for refusing to transfer an employee to an alternate position as a form of reasonable accommodation. In fact, the leading case on this issue of law is named Jensen v. Wells Fargo. That case, which came down in December of 2000, makes clear that employees who need a new position as a result of their disability should not be forced to complete for the position and that the employer has an affirmative obligation to help locate an appropriate alternate position.