A Texas woman is suing her former employer for terminating her employment while on maternity leave. In addition to her wrongful termination claim, the woman states that, while still at work, she was treated differently from other employees for training and development opportunities because of her pregnancy.
The terminated employee had worked as a claims manager since August 2011. The lawsuit claims that she was subjected to hostile behavior from her supervisor as soon as she told the supervisor about her pregnancy. The hostile behavior included criticizing the employee in front of others at the workplace.
The woman says that she was denied training and development opportunities available to other male and non-pregnant female employees in the same positions. Her lawsuit also claims that the supervisor treated the pregnant employee differently from others when requesting sick leave. The company required her to provide evidence of medical doctors’ visits, where others requesting sick leave did not have the same requirement.
The employee left for maternity leave in February 2012. After she had her baby, she received notice of her termination in writing from her company. The woman says that a male employee replaced her.
Although the woman may not have been eligible for Family Medical Leave Act leave provisions because she had been employed at the company for less than a year, she may have been covered by other federal and state laws designed to prevent discrimination against pregnant employees.
Employers are expected to grant a reasonable leave period in the same manner as that of another employee requesting sick leave. When this does not occur, workers may wish to consult with an experienced employment law attorney for advice.
Source: Southeast Texas Record, “Lawsuit says company fired claims manager on maternity leave,” John Suayan, Oct. 4, 2013