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Fired Worker Gets Half a Million

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Beverly Hills, CAMike Alder’s firm usually handles cases where there are millions of dollars at stake. However, to Alder, this case was just as important. Big or little, they all matter.

A 63-year-old woman with carpel tunnel syndrome was discriminated against and fired from her job at Pacesetter - St. Jude Medical. She had worked there for 22 years doing small parts assembling in the company’s pacemaker manufacturing unit.

The woman’s carpel tunnel syndrome prevented Alder’s client from doing all but two of the required movements for the assembly work done in her area, but she was still managing to get her work done.

“A new supervisor came in and decided to fire her,” says Alder.


“There were one or two types of manual dexterity movements that hurt her hands and the new supervisor forced her to do these couple of things that bothered her condition,” Alder says.

“She went out on medical leave and had a year’s worth of ups and downs and ultimately they fired her,” says Alder. “If they had just left her doing what she could do, she would have been happy.”

Alder argued that Pacesetter had discriminated against his client based on her disability and she had been wrongfully terminated.

“They failed to work to find her another job in the company and failed to work together with her to find a solution and reasonably accommodate someone with a disability,” says Alder.

“This is a violation of California labor law,” says Alder. “There are laws to prevent discrimination like this.”

In September 2015, a jury found that Alder’s client could have worked at the plant another five or six years and awarded her $500,000.

“She was thrilled with that outcome,” says Alder.

So, not the most important case that came into the Alder Law Firm last year - but to Alder’s client, it was the most important case in her life.

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READER COMMENTS

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I had previously filed two cases with the dfeh, and one with eeoc. the first two were settle with the company the 3rd was not. I filed the 3rd case May 2015. I left on an overseas deployment in May 2015. The company made the decision to terminate me for insubordination on November 24, 2015 while I was deployed. My record book is clean and I have high marks in the area of following company policies and supervisor instruction. They said it was because of what I said to HR and for not answering a work related question my supervisor asked me. I never had a conversation with them only emails. The only dealings I had with HR was me asking for their assistance with an employee I felt was harassing me because of my race. I had constantly complained about this harassment. We were overseas and they refused to remove him from my shift, therefor subjecting me to his harassing behavior for over 4 months. My understanding is he was also terminated in early December for the things he did to me while we were deployed. I was terminated while I was out on stress from this harassment by way of email.
In the last conversation with my Supervisor I told him for like the 5th time. I felt [name] was ginve my a hard time and harassing me because I was black. The decision to fire me was made on 24 November and made official on December 10, 2015

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