A complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims that a company fired a woman shortly after she informed a manager of pregnancy-related work restrictions. The complainant alleges that the company discriminated against her based on her pregnancy in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). She also alleges that the company discriminated against her and failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and that it committed multiple violations of the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), N.Y. Exec. L. Sec. 296.
The respondent company, which operates a nationwide chain of discount clothing stores, hired the complainant as a cashier at a location in Henrietta, New York in April 2014. The complainant reportedly became ill in early August 2014 and had to go to the hospital. The illness continued for several days, including several trips to the doctor and missed shifts at work. After about eight days, she was informed that she needed another doctor’s note in order to keep her job. A doctor at the hospital informed her on August 13 that she was seven weeks pregnant. The doctor wrote a note with that date, stating that she could return to work on August 18.
On August 17, the company informed the complainant that she needed to submit a doctor’s note describing any work restrictions, and that she would not receive any shifts until she did so. She obtained a note on August 19 stating that she should not lift more than 25 pounds. Her job duties at the store, she claims, included sales and customer service, occasional floor and bathroom cleaning, and taking out the trash. None of these duties had ever required lifting more than 25 pounds.
Despite this general lack of lifting requirements in her job, the complainant was summoned to a meeting with the manager and a human resources or corporate representative. She was allegedly told that she could not perform her job duties, that she should stay home and rest, and that she should reapply for her job after giving birth. She claims that she was never offered any accommodation, even though she needed few, if any, accommodations in the first place. About an hour later, the complainant alleges, the store manager called her and told her that she was terminated.
The complainant claims that the company has a policy of providing accommodations to employees with disabilities, as it is required to do by the ADA. She stated a recollection that her store had offered accommodations to an employee with carpal tunnel syndrome, but failed to do the same for her. She further argues that the timing of her termination, along with the fact that the individuals in the August 19 meeting made repeated mention of her pregnancy, indicates that the company discriminated against her because of her pregnancy.
If you have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, the employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help you stand up for your rights. We represent employees, former employees, and job seekers in the New York City area in claims under city, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.
More Blog Posts:
Fighting for the Right to Continue Working During Pregnancy, New York Employment Attorney Blog, February 11, 2015
Pregnancy Discrimination Case Causes Controversy, Although Maybe Not for the Right Reason, New York Employment Attorney Blog, February 4, 2015
Wall Street Bank Named in Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit in New York State Court, New York Employment Attorney Blog, January 7, 2015