Saturday, December 11, 2010

Employer's Remarks About Employee's Miscarriage and Pregnancy Allow Discrimination Claim to Move Forward

A former employee, Pauline Rumbley, who first miscarried then became pregnant again within one year was terminated after allegedly failing to improve her job performance after being placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP). Prior to her termination, the employee complained to several human resource members about experiencing harassment related to her pregnancy and requested to be transferred to other positions including one beneath her skills and experience and that paid less but was denied. Part of the reason the former employee felt she was being harassed because of her pregnancy was because:

1) During the first pregnancy,Rumbley told May (her supervisor) that she was expecting. When she miscarried, Rumbley missed work. Upon her return to work following the miscarriage, Rumbley asked May if she could fill out a slip for sick leave and asked May to sign her sick leave slip. At that point, May told Rumbley “that he didn’t want [her] to start abusing [her] sick leave. And he asked if [she and her partner] were going to try again.”

2) Rumbley informed May on April 10, 2008, that she was expecting again. May responded by saying: “Look around, how many pregnant women do you see?”. Rumbley replied “None.” And then, according to Rumbley, May “said something about keeping it that way . . . [, w]e plan on keeping it that way[, or] we should keep it that way.”

3) On May 19, Rumbley and May met again. May remarked during the meeting that “even if they had to pay for maternity leave[,] then [Rumbley] sure as hell wouldn’t have a job when [she] came back.”

4) May confirmed to Rumbley, via a head nod, that another supervisor was trying to get rid of her beause of her pregnancy.

These comments loaned themselves to the Plaintiff to pursue a sex discrimination claim under Title VII as direct evidence and to avoid summary judgment on her disparate treatment claim, ruled the federal district court in Alabama.

The case is Rumbley vs. Austal USA , Civil Action No. 1:09-499-KD-B

Enochs Law Firm

No comments:

Post a Comment