THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES SUED FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION AFTER FIRING EMPLOYEE RECOVERING FROM STAGE 4 CANCER
On January 30, 2017, Matern Law Group filed a lawsuit against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on behalf of a former employee, Rodolfo Davila, alleging that the Academy engaged in disability discrimination by refusing to accommodate Mr. Davila’s disability and medical condition and wrongfully terminating his employment in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Mr. Davila, a former Human Resources Program Manager for the Academy, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in May 2015 after a large tumor was discovered between his heart and lungs. Mr. Davila was given a ten percent chance of survival. After completing seven rounds of chemotherapy and open heart surgery, Mr. Davila’s cancer is currently in remission. Unfortunately, when Mr. Davila returned from medical leave in March 2016, the complaint alleges that he was subjected to retaliatory conduct after requesting reasonable accommodations for his disability. Mr. Davila alleges that the Academy refused to accommodate the work restrictions imposed by his doctors, which had previously been acceptable, pressured him to go on disability leave, and even suggested that he falsify information on a disability application. Four months after returning from medical leave, the Academy terminated Mr. Davila’s employment, despite his excellent performance evaluations and consistent praise for his work since the beginning of his employment with the Academy. “They fired me at a time when I was most vulnerable,” said Davila. “I loved my job and was eager to return after my leave. I can’t believe they would treat a valued employee this way.”
Mr. Davila is represented by Matthew J. Matern, Dalia Khalili, and Deanna Leifer of Matern Law Group, PC of Manhattan Beach. “We’re seeing these types of cases more and more often,” said Matthew Matern, Mr. Davila’s attorney. “Employers consistently fail to follow the law by refusing to abide by employees’ reasonable accommodation requests and it has not only a devastating impact on these employees, but ultimately hurts their bottom line when talented employees get the message that they are not wanted because of their disabilities.”
Click here to view a PDF copy of the complaint.
Related Press Coverage:
- Variety: http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/academy-sued-firing-employee-stage-4-cancer-1201974604/
- SFGate: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/the-wrap/article/Academy-of-Motion-Pictures-Sued-for-Allegedly-10899057.php
- Law 360: https://www.law360.com/employment/articles/886489/motion-picture-academy-sued-for-disability-bias
- TMZ: http://www.tmz.com/2017/01/30/the-academy-sued-man-fired-heart-attack/