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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Legal support company accused of pregnancy discrimination

Our blog has on many occasions discussed how those employers who really should know better engage in pregnancy discrimination and other forms of unlawful employment discrimination. A recent filing in another state is just the latest example of this.

The employer in this recent case practices what it calls litigation science but which also may be referred to as litigation support. While not a law firm, the employer obviously deals with the law regularly.

Nevertheless, a former employee has filed a federal suit alleging both pregnancy discrimination and related violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. Both of these laws also apply to California workers. In her lawsuit, she states that the employer fired her 10 days before she was scheduled to give birth surgically. She alleges that she started to face work-related trouble because she was not meeting certain sales goals, goals that were a bit harder for someone to meet while also dealing with pregnancy.

She said that her employer activated its internal discipline process only a month after she announced her pregnancy, even though many other employees, men and women alike, did not face repercussions for failing to meet sales goals. Likewise, she alleges that while other employees had the benefit of being able to service existing customer accounts that were not theirs just so they could meet their quota, she was not given an opportunity to do so. Instead, she was rebuffed when she asked for the same treatment.

California companies may use sales goals or other performance metrics when making critical personnel decisions. However, they may not use them in a manner so as to single out pregnant workers. The goals themselves must also be objectively non-discriminatory. A worker in this state who feels their pregnancy has led to their termination, even if an employer gave a plausible reason for the decision, may have legal options available under both federal and state law.

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