For many mother’s to be, pregnancy is a stressful enough time without the added pressure and stress that comes from their jobs. It’s a time where hormones and emotions are running haywire and a time where many moms-to-be are busy planning for the arrival of their child. The last thing they should have to deal with is workplace discrimination, but sadly, that’s exactly what many moms-to-be experience even in today’s modern society. Take for example a lawsuit that was recently filed against a manager at Correct Care Solutions by former medication aid, Alena Fassbender. According to her lawsuit, Fassbender alleged she was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated because she was pregnant.
Correct Care Solutions is a “company that provides health care for prison inmates,” and one offhanded comment from Fassbender’s manager about her pregnancy announcement ended up “resulting in a costly legal battle.” What happened, though? Well, according to the lawsuit, when Fassbender informed her manager that she was expecting, her manager responded by saying, “What, you’re pregnant too?” At the time of Fassbender’s announcement, there were several other pregnant employees.
Then, a few days later, “another employee overheard the manager say, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle all these people being pregnant at once’ and ‘I have too many pregnant workers. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of them.’”
To make matters worse for Fassbender, she was fired shortly after telling her manager she was pregnant. In response, Fassbender sued the company for pregnancy discrimination, though Correct Care Solutions claims she was terminated for allegedly “violating its no fraternization policy.” It turns out she had “received a romantic note from an inmate and hadn’t reported it immediately.”
Despite the company’s claim, a circuit court pushed the case to trial after it determined the “company’s actions sufficiently suspicious.” According to the circuit court, Correct Care Solutions’ reasons for “firing Fassbender kept changing, and the manager who made the comments about the pregnant workers had been reprimanded by the company.”
This isn’t the first time a pregnant woman has been discriminated against in the workplace, though. Earlier this year a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit was filed against a California prison by a female correction officer. According to that particular lawsuit, the officer, Sarah Coogle, claimed “state prison officials wouldn’t provide reasonable accommodations when she was pregnant,” and as a result, she ended up falling “while responding to a fight between inmates at a maximum-security prison.” Unfortunately, the fall resulted in Coogle losing her unborn child and prompted her to file the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in Kern County Superior Court.
Fassbender and Coogle are only two of the women across the country who have been discriminated against while pregnant. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination often puts women in the uncomfortable and less than desirable situation of having to choose between their job or the health and financial security of their family. Hopefully, as more attention is drawn to the issue, more employers will begin implementing “proper anti-discrimination training so managers can avoid missteps” like the one Fassbender had to deal with.