California Employment Law
Have California Employment Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer.
Good morning Michelle, I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.1. Have you been seen by your physician recently with regard to the symptoms that you are complaining about to get some basic verification that it is your work environment that is causing these problems.2. Has your physician agreed that these symptoms are related to mold/toxic mold exposure?Doug
Did you get my reply?
Really? OK The answer to the questions you asked, I did see a work comp doctor about 2 weeks ago who recommended that I be removed from my home store and transferred to another store. The mold in my home store has been tested and she confirmed that the symptoms I am having would be related. I have not seen a personal doctor for this yet. The problem is the store I was transferred to has visible mold as well, and my symptoms are persisting. I have another appointment with the work comp doctor in 1 week. Do I report the mold in the second pharmacy immediately to district manager or wait and report to work comp doctor? How do I report it?
Good morning Michelle, Thank you for the additional information. That was exactly what I needed to know. As long as you have a physician who has determined that mold is a problem for you, then you are set.
Under the provisions of California Labor Code § 6310/CAL-OSHA: Employers may not punish workers in any way - including firing, demoting, discriminating or any other form of retaliation - for exercising their right to a safe workplace. Examples of protected activities include complaining to Cal/OSHA, seeking a Cal/OSHA inspection, participating in a Cal/OSHA inspection, and participating or testifying in any proceeding related to a Cal/OSHA inspection.
Furthermore, Title 8 California Code of Regulations (CCR) § 3203 and § 1509 holds that
every California employer to have a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to promote health and safety in the workplace; and which includes a system to communicate with workers on health and safety matters, which must include a way for workers to report unsafe conditions without fear of reprisal.
You may not be retaliated against based on your reporting of a workplace health hazard, even if it is later determined that the hazard was either not critical, or even non-existent.
So, feel free to report the presence of the mold in the new story to your Manager, and to indicate that you are suffering from the same symptoms again that you suffered before being transferred. You may not be terminated, punished or retaliated against based on your making of the report. You should consider putting it in writing as well as making a verbal report to your Manager---for documentation purposes.
Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions. If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. I wish you the best in your future. Doug
Hi Doug I do have a few more questions. Once reported what should I expect. I first reported the mold in July and the mold was simply painted over. I reported it again on 9/1 to higher level management because the mold got worse and additional mold was discovered. My symptoms got worse as well. What should a reasonable time line be to correct the health hazard. After filing the work comp claim and was transferred, I was told by my district manager, that I would need to increase my work schedule to cover the other store. How do I determine retaliation by the employer. In addition, if they transfer me to a 3 rd store with presumably no mold what would be a reasonably distance from my home, I have worked as pharmacy manger for the past 6 years at my home store with a 6 mile commute. Thanks for your time.
Hi Michelle, You are welcome. It is my pleasure to assist you. First of all, I have some experience litigating residence mold cases, and unless the mold was superficial, and treated chemically to kill the mold before it was painted over, the job was not done correctly. There is a lot more to mold remediation than a simple coat of paint. As your reports to management don’t seem to be doing a lot to correct the situation, you do have the ability to file a formal complaint with CAL-OSHA and ask them to look into the mold situation as well. Again, while this won't make your employer particularly happy, they may not legally retaliate against you. If store mold is a problem for your company, it may be that there is no store for you to go to and you will need to perhaps file for unemployment and look for another position. And in terms of where you can be relocated to---realizing that there are a finite number of pharmacies you can be transferred to, being relocated to a more distant workplace is to perhaps, be expected. If the transfer is too long a commute, then again, you would need to decide whether you wanted to stay with the company. But if there is no position nearby, they have little choice but to assign you to a distant store if they are to relocate you. The law does not require that they somehow make a position open for you in another store in order to place you in a store close you your residence, and it is not retaliation to give you what is reasonably available. A reasonable time to correct the health hazard---when the hazard can be easily identified, and the process is not all that difficult, one would think that 30 days would be sufficient---but again, this is not a law. If you want to put a fire under management, then get CAL-OSHA involved, and I assure you that they will get the point. Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. Please keep in mind that even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions. Thanks again. I wish you well, Doug
Hope you are well! Thanks again for your time. So I have notified my DM that 2nd mold problem exists in the store that he sent me....incidentally..... to to get away from the current mold problem that is being abated in my home store (that is scheduled to be completed in a week). I have been stressed over the whole situation and am concerned because my DM has not responded to me at all since I have notified him about the 2nd mold issue. How do I proceed?
Hi Michelle, I can't tell you what you do. All I can do is tell you what your options are, and they are limited. You can go above the GM's head, you can contact CAL-OSHA, if you are ill enough you can file a workers' compensation claim and perhaps be taken off work until the situation is no longer a danger to your health or you can leave and find a different position elsewhere. You need to choose to do what is best for you under the totality of the circumstances.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).