Labs in Court

Manager Can’t Sue Lab for Disability Discrimination After Signing a Severance Release

 

Case: Things went down hill for a clinical lab manager after he got into a violent confrontation with one of the union stewards representing the phlebotomists he supervised. Two days after the incident, the manager went to the ER for anxiety and was diagnosed with “emotional stress reaction.” He then went on disability leave allowing him to work but not at the same facility as the steward. But what was supposed to be just a temporary accommodation dragged on with the employer denying his request for reassignment to a new facility. The manager eventually decided to resign and file a workers’ comp claim. But after settling the workers comp claim and signing a severance agreement and release, the manager had a change of heart and sued the lab for failure to accommodate his disability under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). But the state court dismissed the case.

 

Significance: The release agreement was enforceable, the court concluded, even though it didn’t specifically mention the FEHA as among the laws for which the manager released the lab. The manager signed the release voluntarily; and he received “consideration,” i.e., something of value, for doing so, namely a $45,000 severance payment.

 

[Razon v. S. Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7518, 2020 WL 6737418]

 

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