Canby resident sues Precision Castparts subsidiary for $695,000
A Canby resident is suing her former employer, PCC Structurals, Inc., for nearly three quarters of a million dollars after she was fired in October 2017. She claims the company failed to make a minor accommodation for a medical disability, resulting in failed urinalyses and her termination.
Roena Uland hired attorneys Craig A. Crispin and Ashley A. Marton of Crispin Employment Law and formally filed a complaint against the Precision Castparts Corp. subsidiary in Multnomah County Court in December 2018. Attorney Christina Stephenson is also working with Crispin and Marton on the case.
The complaint shows Uland is seeking $695,000 from PCC plus attorney fees and funds to offset the tax consequences of receiving a lump sum payment.
Uland worked at PCC for more than 30 years. Her role was to inspect the dimensions of large aircraft parts, according to the complaint.
Uland said PCC was more than a job to her; it was her family. She said she met her husband at PCC and has a number of family members who work there.
"I gave PCC everything I had for 33 years," Uland said. "I was a good employee. Being terminated broke my heart; PCC was my life."
The complaint details the events leading up to Uland's termination.
In 2015, Uland took medical leave for surgery on her foot, and in 2016 took medical leave for stomach surgery. When she returned to PCC in June 2016, she was asked to submit to an uranalysis drug screen. She was unable to produce urine, so PCC deemed the test a failure, the complaint shows.
Uland and attorneys claim in the complaint that on the same day of the failed screen Uland visited an urgent care center for a UA drug screen, which came out negative. She also provided a doctor's note from her gastrologist explaining that Uland's recent stomach surgery may have inhibited her ability to urinate on the spot.
Still, PCC placed Uland on a two-year probation for the "failed" drug screen, noting that another failed screen would result in termination.
Crispin said other drug screens followed, all of which were negative.
"It is curious, isn't it, that she'd been there for 20 years or more and had never been selected for a random UA," Crispin said, "and suddenly after has these injuries and requests accommodation for those injuries and time off for those injuries and disability, then suddenly she's being so-called randomly selected for UA on three different occasions."
Then in February 2017, the complaint shows Uland took another medical leave for correction of a previous surgery. She returned to work in May of that year and within a week, she fell on the job and was injured, which prompted her to take more time off from May to October 2017, using medical leave and workers' compensation.
When she returned in October 2017, the company asked for yet another urinalysis. Uland complied, but according to the complaint, PCC said the sample was either insufficient or the temperature was too low and deemed it another failure.
PCC fired Uland on Oct. 3, 2017.
Oregon is an at-will state, meaning generally employers or employees can legally end employment at any time for any reason or no reason, but Crispin pointed out that there are limitations to this law.
"Employment law is all about why something happens, not really what happens," Crispin said. "So the law says that you cannot terminate or impose adverse actions otherwise on an employee for certain motivations or reasons. Those include things you've heard of I'm sure: age, race, sex, disability—as in this case."
Crispin said they are making two claims: that PCC discriminated against Uland based on her disability and that they retaliated against her because she raised issues under the disability discrimination statutes.
Crispin declined to go into detail about Uland's disability, but noted that it had to do with her foot and stomach surgeries. Uland said she asked for a minor accommodation, which was to have a hair follicle or blood test instead of a urine test.
"It is hard to fathom how an enormous company like PCC could not make such an accommodation," Uland said.
David Dugan, Precision Castparts Corp. director of communications, declined to comment on the reason for Uland's termination, citing ongoing litigation and privacy obligations. He also declined to provide attorney contact information.
Crispin said his team worked to negotiate with PCC before taking legal action, but they received no response from PCC, and so filed the formal complaint with the court.
"We look forward to the transparency and accountability that only the civil justice system and trial by jury can provide," Uland said.