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Judge’s Widow Receives Settlement in Wrongful Death Claim Based on Discrimination

Posted on in Employment

employment discrimination, wrongful death claim, San Jose employment law attorneys, employer liability, chronic health conditionsMany people suffer from ongoing disabilities and chronic health conditions that prevent them from performing certain types of tasks on their job. While employers have the right to require you to perform specific duties as part of your job description, employment discrimination is illegal and workers are protected against having to engage in activities that could end up putting them in harm's way due to their disabilities. A recent case involving the wrongful death of a San Jose judge highlights the types of problems disabled employees can run into, and how their employers can be held liable in a claim.

Employer Held Liable for Job-Related Death of San Jose Judge

This case centered on a 74-year-old administrative law judge with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. According to a May 2018 report in the Sacramento Bee, he had worked at the San Jose office for 13 years, presiding over unemployment cases. He suffered from a documented heart condition, which ended up claiming his life in September 2015. In the months prior to his passing, he believed his employer was discriminating against him on the basis of his disability.

According to his coworkers, the judge’s doctor advised him against driving long distances due to his health condition. As a result, he commuted by bus to his office from his home in Santa Cruz County. Problems arose when his superiors began requiring him to attend periodic hearings in Modesto, which would have required him to drive. When he refused, his supervisor began docking hours from a leave bank the judge had accumulated over the years. It was the day after one of these disputes that the judge ended up passing away as the result of his condition.

The judge’s wife went on to sue his employer, claiming that their discriminatory practices, based on his medical disability, was a factor in causing his death. In the months after her husband passed, she received a $150,000 settlement from the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Recently, she agreed to a $10,000 settlement from the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board as the result of a lawsuit filed in the Santa Clara Court. She claims her case was not about the money, but instead about bringing to light the discriminatory actions taken against her husband, in the hope of preventing a similar situation in the future.

Contact Us Today for Help

Disabled workers are among those protected by both state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Administered locally through the California Department of Housing Employment and Housing, it prevents employers from discrimination against job applicants and employees on the basis on disabilities, including those that result from an ongoing medical condition. Those who engage in these types of practices may be liable for back wages, job reinstatement, and punitive damages as the result of a claim.

If you or someone you care about is dealing with discrimination in the workplace, reach out and contact Jachimowicz Law Group. Request a consultation with our skilled San Jose employment law attorneys to discuss the actions we can take to protect you.

Sources:

https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/people-with-disabilities/

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article152721119.html

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