Two women recently filed cases against AT&T Mobility alleging pregnancy discrimination. The women asserted that their termination was a result of discrimination, stating that the company's attendance policy discriminates against pregnant women. Large employers in California and throughout the U.S. could be affected by the outcome of this case.
The two women stated that they were fired as a result of attendance policy violations where points were assessed for absences. They were seeking compensation for their rights being violated. A spokesperson from the organization stated that they do not support discrimination of any kind on any level. One plaintiff stated that she had accrued a number of points prior to beginning maternity leave. As a result, she reportedly experienced workplace hostility. Two days after returning to work after completing maternity leave, she was fired.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union state that the claims could have broad implications for companies with attendance policies. Broad use of no-fault attendance policies among large employers could fall under scrutiny for discriminatory practices. With these policies, women can be assessed points for every occurrence regardless of their reason.
AT&T's attendance policy clearly covers matters for those with short-term disabilities but doesn't cover pregnancy. Both plaintiffs state that this is in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The law states that employees cannot be treated differently when it comes to leave and benefits. The FMLA extends up to 12 weeks of leave for all employees who must take time off to care for themselves or family members.
When in a scenario where discrimination may have played a role in termination, an attorney might be consulted to challenge the decision. In cases like these, an employment attorney may be able to determine if a person's rights have been violated. Where the law is unclear on matters like no-fault policies, an attorney experienced in labor law may be helpful in seeking a remedy for the claimant.