According to court documents, Doris Garcia Hernandez’s troubles at work began when her supervisor, David, learned about the pregnancy. The woman said that as soon as she told him about her situation, he asked her to tell all her colleagues when she needed to use the restroom. Additionally, David told her that she will have to get his approval to use the bathroom every single time.
The manager said that these rules were necessary to allow the team better cover her position in her absence. But surprisingly enough no non-pregnant woman was required to announce her bathroom breaks the way she was supposed to.
However, the woman was fired a day after she informed the manager that she had to leave earlier one day to go to her doctor for a pre-natal medical check. Reportedly, David didn’t answer to her request and the woman left for her appointment without his permission.
Hernandez said that David told her that he has fired her in front of all her colleagues the next day. The $550,000 were awarded to the woman as compensation and as punitive damages against the company.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a pregnant woman when it comes to hiring, layoff, paying, training, leave, health insurance, firing, and job tasks.
The federal law requires all employers to treat pregnant employees as if they are temporarily disabled. On a case to case basis, employers must provide pregnant women with lighter or alternative job assignments and unpaid leave if necessary.
It is a punishable offense to harass or humiliate a pregnant employee or to generate a hostile work environment because of her pregnancy. Furthermore, the pregnant woman cannot be fired as long as she can perform her job properly.
Nevertheless, managers are not required to make life easier for a pregnant employee at work. The pregnant woman can win in court only if she was discriminated against due to her pregnancy.
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee was pleased with the decision. One lawyer said that the way Hernandez was treated was “intolerable.”
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