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Wilshire Hospice sued for alleged discrimination 

A former employee of Wilshire Health and Community Services is alleging that her request for reasonable accommodations for her disability was denied and she was fired because of it.

A lawsuit filed on Aug. 8 against Wilshire Health and Community Services Inc. alleges that Victoria Thorp was discriminated against, harassed, and wrongfully terminated.

Thorp began her full-time employment with Wilshire as a licensed registered nurse on Sept. 26, 2017, the lawsuit states, and on Oct. 28, 2017, she was diagnosed with a serious medical condition that qualifies as a disability under applicable provisions of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

She informed managers and human resources personnel at Wilshire of her disability, the lawsuit claims, and requested accommodations that would allow her to continue her employment with the organization. The lawsuit alleges that Wilshire and its managing agents systematically refused to engage in a timely and good faith process with Thorp.

According to the lawsuit, Thorp is accusing the organization of refusing to provide her with accommodations even though she "communicated fully and honestly with Wilshire and provided all requested medical information" relating to her request.

On March 28, 2019, the lawsuit alleges, Wilshire falsely accused Thorp of violating her stated physical restrictions; unilaterally informed her that no further accommodations would be provided; denied her the opportunity to apply for vacant positions for which she was qualified in violation of Fair Employment Housing Act and applicable regulations; and forced Thorp to take a medical or other leave of absence.

On April 3, 2019, Wilshire instructed Thorp to immediately appear at work to sign unspecified documents and to turn in her phone and laptop, the lawsuit states.

Thorp asked to postpone this meeting until she had the opportunity to confer with legal counsel—but the lawsuit claims that the request was refused. Wilshire then gave her a letter stating her employment was terminated, the lawsuit claims, as a direct response to her request.

According to the lawsuit, the letter stated: "Thorp refused to meet with Wilshire about her accommodations; she resigned; she violated guidelines set by her Health Care Provider; she was jeopardizing the safety of ... patients; Wilshire has been accommodating [Thorp] and the guidelines of [her] health care providers; Wilshire was no longer able to provide any accommodations; and Wilshire was not able to provide Thorp with a position within the office environment due to census."

The lawsuit alleges that Thorp has since experienced severe emotional distress, and fear for her job, career, financial security, and ability to continue to obtain treatment for her disability.

In an email to New Times, Wilshire spokesperson Ron Yukelson said, "Wilshire Health & Community Services has not been served with the litigation in question and thus has no basis for comment on the matter." Δ

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