Elya Kazaryan case VICTORIOUS: Social worker reinstated with FOUR YEARS OF BACK PAY

We have exciting news to share. It’s one with a very happy ending – and one which involves someone I know personally because I represented her in her very first investigatory meeting.

Four years ago, one of our own fellow Social Workers – Elya Kazaryan – was unjustly terminated by the LA County Department of Children and Family Services. Kazaryan was a 19-year employee at DCFS with no prior discipline. DCFS claimed she was falsifying records.

Kazaryan filed a case with the Civil Service Commission and won. Then DCFS appealed their loss to the LA Superior Court.

We recently learned that the LA Superior Court sided in Kazaryan’s favor. Judge James C. Chalfant upheld the Civil Service Commission’s decision, which found that DCFS terminated Kazaryan without just cause and that Kazaryan deserved to be reinstated.

In issuing the decision, the Court wrote: “… the Department’s case was entirely dependent on its interpretation of texts, emails, and Kazaryan’s official entries in CWS/CMS, field itineraries, mileage claims, and Form 158s. Kazaryan adequately explained these documents, admitted her failures, and credibly testified that she performed the tasks at issue and made no intentionally false entries. The hearing officer found her to be credible and his findings are supported by substantial evidence.”

During final oral arguments, LA County waived its right to be heard and submitted on the tentative decision – which ultimately went Kazaryan’s way. This means that the Court’s decision in favor of Kazaryan is final and she will be reinstated with FOUR YEAR’S WORTH OF BACKPAY.

We are overjoyed to learn about this amazing news! Since 2020, it’s been a true struggle for Kazaryan, who has been fighting for justice this entire time. Now, the big day has finally come, and justice has finally been served – all because she did not give up.

“Thank you for believing in me,” Kazaryan said. “It’s been a long struggle for me and my family, but the truth always wins and that is the reason why I did not give up. I would like to personally thank everyone who supported me. A special “Thank You” to my Union team – David Green and Adriel Peterson – for going above and beyond to help me, I also would like to give a heartfelt “Thank You” to the Union’s legal team, especially Michele S. Ancheta for her passion and dedication throughout this long journey.”

And I’d like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate Elya Kazaryan for her incredible victory. It is an honor to have been a part of it. May her successful case remind all of us about the power of union representation and the worthiness of standing up for what’s right. It took a long time to get here but we did – and though the fight was tough, the victory was worth it. Together, we win!

In Solidarity,
David Green, MSW
President and Executive Director
SEIU Local 721

Categories: Los Angeles County