Appellate court rejects claim against BFD

Former employee claimed discrimination and harassment

August 21, 2010|By Gretchen Meier,

An appeals court this week upheld a ruling against a woman who claimed discrimination and harassment while working as a secretary for the Burbank Fire Department.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals found that Diane Wilson failed to adequately back up claims that she was subjected to discrimination and harassment after she returned from extended medical leave.

"After a thorough and comprehensive review by the court of appeal, we are pleased with this final decision," City Atty. Dennis Barlow said in a statement issued Thursday.


Wilson's attorney, Joseph M. Lorvetovich, could not be reached for comment.

Wilson was hired by the city in 1986 and worked as a secretary for the deputy city manager from 1993 to 2000. She was then transferred to the Fire Department, where she worked for a battalion training chief and the disaster preparedness coordinator.

In March 2003, Wilson injured her eye and was out on medical leave until September 2004. The city paid for her medical benefits for the 12 weeks she was out under the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as for an additional three months while she was out on unpaid medical leave, according to court records.

Wilson returned to work with certain restrictions, as prescribed by her physician.

In April of 2006, she filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing claiming she was "harassed, denied promotion, denied accommodation and retaliated against due to physical disability."

After she exhausted her medical leave, she continued to send doctor excuses to the department, according to court records. After receiving correspondence from the assistant city attorney at the time that Wilson was not participating in good faith, she filed her discrimination complaint.

Her lawsuit was struck down in Los Angeles County Superior Court in October 2008 before being appealed.

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