LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A registered nurse is suing Valley Presbyterian Hospital, alleging the Van Nuys medical center fired her in 2017 because management wanted to replace her with a younger worker.
Theresa Ilagan also alleges in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the hospital administration was hostile toward her because she had a disability caused by stress on the job and due to her Filipino heritage.
The suit’s allegations include discrimination, breach of contract, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful conduct in violation of public policy. Ilagan is seeking unspecified damages.
A hospital representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit, which was filed Jan. 24.
Ilagan was hired at Valley Presbyterian in July 2013 and was “always a distinct minority as (the hospital) did not hire Filipina nurses,” according to her court papers. At the time of her firing in February 2017, she was an operating room nurse making $49 per hour, her suit states.
The plaintiff alleges that the hospital was severely understaffed during her time there, causing the RN to suffer stress, nausea, asthma, pain and hypertension that eventually caused her to become disabled.
Ilagan’s supervisor, Tracey Ibarra, knew of the plaintiff’s health issues, but Ibarra made it known she did not want to accommodate anyone suffering in such a way, the suit alleges.
Ilagan’s health became so poor in January 2017 that she had to check into Valley Presbyterian’s emergency room, the suit states. She left the emergency room needing additional care, but returned to work because she feared she would lose her job if she requested medical leave, according to her complaint.
Fearing that she would seek medical leave and file for workers’ compensation, the hospital management made up a reason to suspend Ilagan and subsequently fired her, the suit alleges.
Sue Whitfield, the hospital’s human resources director, knew that the suspension was unfounded and that the custom and practice was to counsel employees facing discipline, the suit alleges. Both Ibarra and Whitfield are co-defendants in the lawsuit.
Ilagan believes she was replaced by a younger employee who is being paid less, is not Filipino and is not disabled, the suit says.