Pregnancy discrimination is an all too common and unfortunately growing threat to women’s rights. Pregnancy discrimination lawsuits in the United States have risen nearly 50% in the last 15 years despite the passing of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. And these are just the cases that women actually bring to court, not accounting for the unknown number of women who are discriminated against, harassed, fired, demoted, or retaliated against for being pregnant but who never file a complaint. The site Pregnant Then Screwed recounts the stories of such women who never filed a complaint but who have faced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and are now sharing their stories in the hope that they will be able to shed light on this injustice against women and families.
Here’s a look at some of the women who have stood up against their employers through a formal lawsuit and their cases.
Nasty Gal Sued for Illegally Firing Three Pregnant Employees and a Male Employee for Paternity Leave
California – Nasty Gal, a clothing company based out of LA, has been sued by four former employees who all say they were let go illegally: three of the employees were pregnant women, and the fourth was a father about to take paternity leave. The four former Nasty Gal employees claim that while their layoffs were part of a broader companywide layoff and restructuring period, “the people let go accounted for every expectant or recent parent on staff,” according to a Fast Company article.
The lawsuit flies in the face of the woman-run company that has become known for promoting and empowering women and girls and whose CEO, Sophia Amoruso, recently wrote the book Girl Boss.
The lawsuit is still pending.
G.E.B. Medical Management, Inc. Ordered to Pay $6.2 Million in Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit
New York – G.E.B. Medical Management was recently ordered to pay $6.2 million in damages to three former employees who claimed they were harassed and discriminated against in 2008 because of their pregnancies. The actions G.E.B. Medical took after learning of the women’s pregnancies clearly violated antidiscrimination laws, strengthening the plaintiffs’ claim.
Read the full story here.
Public Utility Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division (MLGWD) Pays $92,000 for Pregnancy Discrimination
Tennessee – An attorney by the name of Andrea Mosby Meachem who was a seven-year employee of the Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division sued after her employer failed to allow her a reasonable accommodation during her high-risk pregnancy that required bedrest and consequently the ability to telecommute. In the lawsuit, Meachem also included that her employer gave her a negative performance review and took away certain work assignments after she returned from maternity leave.
Read the full story here.
UPS Charged With Pregnancy Discrimination After Failing to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation
One of the most high-profile cases of late is the UPS vs. Peggy Young case, in which Young accused UPS of failing to provide a reasonable accommodation and forcing her to go on unpaid leave, causing her to lose her medical coverage. Young lost in both the district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals but finally proved her case in the U.S. Supreme Court, which vacated the lower courts’ judgment and returned the case to the district court for another review.
As reported in a US News article, “This is a big win for Peggy Young and other women in the workplace,” said Sam Bagenstos, the lawyer who argued Young’s case before the Supreme Court. “The Court recognized that a ruling for UPS would thwart Congress’s intent. And it made clear that employers may not refuse to accommodate pregnant workers based on considerations of cost or convenience when they accommodate other workers.”
AutoZone Pays Record-Breaking $185 Million in Pregnancy Discrimination Case
California – Rosario Juarez sued AutoZone, alleging the company demoted her as a result of her pregnancy and then fired her for filing a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The jury ultimately agreed with Juarez’s claim of pregnancy discrimination and felt so strongly about the case that they awarded Juarez $185 million in punitive damages. While AutoZone originally claimed it would appeal the ruling, it later dropped its intent to appeal and settled the case.
Read more about this case here.
Anna Police Department in Dayton, Ohio
Ohio – Sarah Puckett sued the Anna Police Department in Dayton, Ohio for pregnancy discrimination, claiming that she was hired as a police officer but was never sworn in after she informed the police chief she was pregnant. Her suit alleges that the police chief informed her she would be sworn in after the birth of her child, but the police chief’s claim never came to fruition. Meanwhile, male officers were hired and sworn in.
The lawsuit is still pending but seeks “injunctive relief, full back pay, past, present and future wages and benefits, court costs, attorney fees and compensatory and punitive damages totaling $500,000,” according to the Dayton Daily News.
At Spiggle Law, we specialize in pregnancy discrimination and protecting employees’ rights. Founder Tom Spiggle is so passionate about fighting pregnancy discrimination that he has even written a book, You’re Pregnant, You’re Fired, in an attempt to help mothers, fathers, and caregivers facing discrimination in the workplace. If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, we can help. Contact us today.