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Kaiser Permanente Sued By Executive for AIDS Discrimination

SAN FRANCISCO, June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeffery Sterman, Public Affairs Director and voice of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco for ten years is claiming AIDS discrimination and breach of contract. A person with AIDS, Sterman is one of those who helped create the hospital's response to HIV and AIDS.

David J. St. Louis, Sterman's attorney, filed the action in California Superior Court in San Francisco and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was served June 3, 2008.

The lawsuit details how Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Health Plan created a culture where employees are physically harmed and patient care compromised. Workloads are increased. Staffs are reduced. Humiliation and pressure became part of the working experience. Staffs experienced burnout from working 60 to 80 hours, often seven days a week, for an organization in constant crisis mode. Sterman's Kaiser Permanente doctors said the hostile work environment affected his health.

They are charged with violation of Title VII of the United States Code, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Article I, Section 8 of the California Constitution.

Sterman said, "The current toxic corporate culture is the antithesis of the Thrive marketing plan and the quality of patient care being compromised."

Turnover of executives is staggering. "In nine years, San Francisco had six Senior Vice Presidents/Area Managers and two interim Senior Vice Presidents/Area Managers. Of those, three are still there, three were fired, two "retired".

Problems with the Renal Transplant Program in San Francisco caused record fines after the California Department of Managed Care noted significant management deficiencies.

Sterman is a pioneer in the fight against AIDS. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1983, he founded Continuum HIV Day Services in 1987. He was responsible for first Congressional Field Hearing on AIDS and minorities. Joined Kaiser Permanente's HIV Advisory Board in 1992 to bridge the gap between activists and medical center staff.

Unlike colleagues, the Americans with Disabilities Act, provides protection to speak out.

"It is unfortunate that employees are being physically harmed by Kaiser's toxic work environment. It belittles the promise of Kaiser's multi million dollar Thrive marketing campaign," he said.

SOURCE Law Office of David J. St. Louis
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