Children's Hospital Los Angeles is being sued by a former manager who alleges she was fired in July for taking time off to be with her ill father, and for protesting the firing of an 82-year-old employee who the plaintiff believes was targeted because of her age.
Rosa Lopez's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges that she was discriminated against because she is a Latina and that she endured constant stress on the job because of what the suit calls a "crushing workload."
Lopez seeks unspecified damages in the complaint brought Friday.
A CHLA representative said today that the hospital "has not been served with this lawsuit and thus is not able to adequately respond at this time."
The suit states that Lopez, now 42, was hired by CHLA in 2006 as an administrative coordinator. She received regular promotions during her 11-year tenure and was manager of center operations of CHLA's hematology/oncology fellowship when she lost her job this summer, according to the complaint.
In early 2016, Lopez's supervisor told her to fire four administrative assistants, one of whom was 82 years old, the suit states. Lopez was able to re-assign three of the workers so they could continue at CHLA, but she was told the fourth person had to be let go, the suit states.
The boss "made clear that he preferred choosing the 82-year-old woman, who was ... the oldest person in the department and perhaps all of CHLA," the suits states.
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Despite Lopez's concerns that the elderly employee was being singled out because of her age and hearing problems, management's steadfastness forced her to relent and fire the woman, although the plaintiff was able to have it presented to the worker as a reduction in the department that included a severance package rather than a forced retirement, the suit states.
In the summer of 2016, Lopez was forced to deal with the stress of a large workload and memories of having to fire the 82-year-old, the suit states.
Lopez complained about her work environment and her boss offered her some comfort, but "no practical support," the suit states.
The cutbacks in staff continued and Lopez's boss "reveled in taking support personnel away from plaintiff and watching her scramble to deal with the consequences," the suit states.
In February, another manager became Lopez's supervisor, the suit states. The boss rarely discussed work-related issues with the plaintiff, but regularly spoke with Lopez's peer, the suit states.
Lopez took three days off in May to be with her ill father, returned to work, then asked for five more days to deal with the problem, the suit states. When she returned a second time, Lopez told her boss she needed still more leave time, the suit states.
When Lopez was fired July 13, her boss told her it was for financial reasons, the suit states.
"Plaintiff had to walk the hallway with her personal belongings as her former staff watched ...," the suit states.
Another Latina was fired the same time as Lopez and still more women of her ethnicity have lost their jobs since then, the suit states.
Lopez believes her job was filled by a younger person and that the total number of people in her former department is at the same level as before, undercutting CHLA claims that she was fired to cut costs, the suit states.