Discussion Points for Punto Legal- January 27, 2016
- On January 14, a Latina housekeeping supervisor at The Little Nell won an employment discrimination case in Federal court in Denver. A jury awarded her $150,000.00 in damages for mental anguish and loss of reputation. Also, she gets to go back and ask for back pay, something called front pay, and her attorney’s fees.
The woman fell at work and injured her right elbow. She tried to work and heal her arm at the same time. She had surgery and about 50 physical therapy sessions. Despite her efforts, her arm got worse. In fact, she has a permanent injury to her right arm. After a year and a half of treatment, the doctors said she had reached maximum medical improvement.
The woman explained to the jury that she was being intimidated and overworked. After she complained to the Human Resources Director, she got a big write-up from the executive housekeeper. Then, she was told to take four weeks of vacation. When she returned from vacation, she was abruptly sent to the Sundeck Restaurant to work. She worked at the Sundeck for three months and then was fired.
We brought this case under the Americans with Disability Act, which protects workers who have physical and mental disabilities, provided that they can still perform the essential functions of their job.
What I learned from this case is:
- Many housekeepers work in intimidating working conditions. You need to remember, however, that you do have rights.
- If you are injured-on the job or off the job-tell your supervisors you are injured and insist on accommodations for your injury.
- It is a big mistake–at least a big legal mistake-to hide or minimize your injuries because you think you may be fired.
- If you are injured, try to heal yourself completely rather than aggravating your injuries at work.