Fired Pregnant Worker Reaches Conditional Settlement in Discrimination Suit

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A woman has reached a tentative settlement in her lawsuit against a Santa Monica hospital in which she maintained she was wrongfully fired in 2019 from her position in the cancer division for getting pregnant and falsely accused of abandoning her job while on leave.

Lawyers for plaintiff Nousha Javanmardi filed court papers on Wednesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey stating that a “conditional” accord was obtained in her case against Providence St. John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. No terms were divulged and the court papers stated that her attorneys expect to file a request for dismissal of her case by Dec. 9.

Javanmardi was hired in January 2015 as senior special projects associate in the Molecular Oncology Department at JWCI and the next year was promoted to department manager, earning $95,000 annually when she was terminated, the suit filed in September 2020 stated.

Javanmardi had dizziness and nausea associated with her pregnancy, which was high-risk because it was initiated while she was in the middle of fertility treatment, the suit stated.

Javanmardi’s condition required her to go on a leave of absence, during which time she experienced retaliation, harassment and discrimination from management, the suit alleged. She was allowed to work from home for about six months, but that accommodation was eventually withdrawn, the suit alleged.

In other developments in Javanmardi’s life, one of her grandmothers died and her mother-in-law, who was involved in a serious car accident, stayed with the plaintiff during her rehabilitation, according to the suit.

Javanmardi suffered a further backlash from management when she complained about how she was being treated while on leave, the suit stated. She gave birth to her child in May 2019 and her leave of absence continued because her delivery amounted to a disability, the suit stated.

Javanmardi asked for additional time off in October 2019, but her request was denied and she was fired that month and falsely accused of abandoning her job, according to the suit.

In their court papers, defense attorneys denied any wrongdoing on the part of the hospital.

“An employee cannot reasonably refuse to come work for several weeks without expecting to lose her job,” the hospital lawyers stated in their court papers.

The JWCI provided Navanmardi with numerous leaves of absence before and after her baby was born, but the leave ended in early October 2019 and she was expected back at work, the hospital lawyers stated in their court papers.

Management asked Javanmardi to return to work for one day to discuss changes in her job and what additional leave she needed to take care of her mother-in-law, but the plaintiff refused and stopped communicating with her supervisor, the hospital lawyers stated in their court papers.

“JWCI was therefore wholly justified in ending plaintiff’s employment,” the hospital lawyers stated in their court papers.

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