Having a child should be an exciting time in a woman's life, but all of that excitement can turn into stress if she is forced from her job or unnecessarily placed on leave because of her condition. Two women who were employed at Raley's grocery store in California claim they were the victims of employment discrimination based on pregnancy. The first plaintiff informed her employer that she was pregnant five months before she was due. Her doctor had instructed her not to lift more than 10 pounds. She was called to the store director's office and was told to go home because the company did not make special accommodations for pregnant women.
The second plaintiff had a similar story. She claimed that she told her superiors about her pregnancy and showed them her doctor's note that said that she was unable to do any heavy lifting. One of her job duties was to sweep the floor, but due to her morning sickness, the odor from some of the aisles made her nauseated and would cause her to vomit. To lessen the issue, she allegedly requested to wear a mask, but she was told she could not. Additionally, she claimed she was too sick to finish sweeping and asked if someone else could finish for her, but she was denied.
California law says that pregnancy is considered a disability and those women cannot be terminated because of it. They also cannot suffer a reduction in pay. These women should also be offered a reasonable accommodation. According to the complaint, Raley's should not have had a problem accommodating the first employee because, other than lifting heavy objects, she could still perform the functions of her job.
The case is looking to achieve class action so that similarly-situated past and present female workers from the last four years can be included. A spokesperson for California-based Raley's stated that the employment discrimination claims against the company are unfounded, and it has always gone beyond legal requirements to take care of its pregnant female employees. Women who feel they have been victimized because they are pregnant may turn to the legal system for assistance. Based upon evidence of the discrimination, they may be awarded lost wages and other monetary damages and even be reinstated into their former positions, if the circumstances are warranted.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Pregnant women sue Raley's, alleging discrimination", Denny Walsh, April 14, 2015