An American woman is suing her employer, which allegedly made her wait months for care workers after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleges that the company’s workers “received no benefit in return for their time in confinement.”
According to the complaint, a California Department of Labor (CalDOL) spokesperson told the plaintiff that it is illegal to discriminate based on immigration status, and that CalDOL cannot respond to complaints because it is an agency of the state government.
“CalDILO does not discriminate on the basis of immigration status in employment,” CalDILOC spokesperson Sarah Ahern told BuzzFeed News.
The California government has long been an outspoken advocate for the rights of migrant workers, and recently issued a report outlining ways in which the state can improve the lives of migrant careworkers.
The report also noted that many migrant workers in the United States face barriers to accessing health care.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office said that “state law requires CalDELOs to respond to reports of discrimination, but we do not have the authority to enforce it.”
In the suit, the woman said that she was told she would be transferred to a state facility if she were to report that she had tuberculosis and then was later released and “frequently left alone in her room.”
The lawsuit states that the California Department Of Workforce Development (CWD) told the woman that she would not receive any benefits if she was not transferred to another state facility.
“In fact, if the patient’s treatment at CalDALo fails, they would send the patient to another facility,” the lawsuit states.
The woman’s case has been met with criticism from both the Trump administration and state lawmakers.
On January 6, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the conditions of migrant caregivers in the country, including conditions in California.
California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, who introduced a bill to defund CalDEDOS last year, said in a statement that the lawsuit is “deeply troubling” because it “shows how the Trump Administration is working overtime to discriminate against migrant workers.”