In 2008, Charter Communications hired Anthony Lave as a “broadband tech.” Approximately two years after he was hired, Lave injured his back while working. He filed a workers’ compensation claim and, although he continued to work, Lave ultimately received a permanent disability rating of 30 percent.
Years later, in 2014, Lave asked for time off, claiming he needed to take his wife to a medical appointment. Lave’s supervisor failed to respond for over a week. Frustrated with the lack of a response, Lave complained to a human resources employee but eventually abandoned his request for time off. This occurred again a few days later.
Lave claimed that his relationship with his supervisor worsened after Lave bypassed him and went to human resources regarding his leave requests. Lave testified that his supervisor would stare him down, and disciplined him for minor infractions, and continued to delay his responses to Lave’s leave requests.
Later, Lave’s preexisting back injury flared up in early 2015, leading him to take one day of sick leave. When he returned, the same supervisor issue a “milestone” to Lave for taking a sick day off. A “milestone” was the documentation Charter used to memorialize employee discipline. Lave complained to another human resources employee and then, days later, filed a formal complaint against his supervisor. The local human resources department would “handle the situation.”
Lave then reopened his workers’ compensation claim, and required time off by Charter’s own physician. He returned to work, but was suspended in less than a month because of a customer complaint. Lave filed another complaint with human resources, claiming his suspension was in retaliation for taking time off work. Lave never received a response to his complaint and was later terminated from employment.
Lave filed this lawsuit against Charter, alleging he was retaliated against based on his disability related to his back injury; for taking time off to accompany his wife to her medical appointment; for taking sick leave; for taking medical leave; and for filing complaints arising from his disability accommodation and leave requests.
A jury awarded him $575,000. And a post judgment awarded $400,800 in attorney fees, rather than the requested amount of $1,064,062.70. The judgment was affirmed in the unpublished case of Lave v Charter Communications.
The court of appeal found that the trial court correctly excluded evidence that Charter did not produce during discovery.
With regard to the remaining issues over the jury verdict, the court found that “Charter fails to undermine the jury’s ultimate finding in Lave’s favor and award of damages.”