A former Netflix employee is suing the company after she was allegedly fired for being pregnant.
Tania Zarak recently filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Netflix, over allegations of pregnancy discrimination. According to the suit, she began working for the company in the middle of 2018 but was fired on December 14, 2018, by her boss, Francisco Ramos, allegedly due to her pregnancy. Despite the claims, Netflix has pushed back claiming that they investigated the termination and found it was “not due to illegal causes.”
What happened, exactly? Well, according to the suit, when Zarak informed Ramos of her pregnancy, he ended up reducing her role, “removed her from communications, excluded her from meetings, and mocked her appearance.” When Zarak voiced complaints about the alleged treatment to her HR department, “they told her to go back to Ramos and discuss the situation.” The department also informed Ramos that she had complained about him.
From there, Zarak put in a request to transfer to a new department, “which Ramos denied and then fired her.”
It’s important to note that pregnancy discrimination, like other forms of discrimination, is illegal. Under federal law, businesses cannot “fire, demote, refuse to hire, or otherwise punish a woman for being pregnant” if the business has more than 15 employees. Netflix is a giant company, which means it violated the law if it turns out Zarak was actually discriminated against due to her pregnancy. It should also be noted that federal law doesn’t protect pregnant employees, or any other employee for that matter, if the company is laying off workers or firing workers for performance-based issues.
Additionally, if Zarak’s allegations are true, her encounter with the HR department should raise some questions. Typically, when employees raise concerns with HR, an investigation follows. Instead, Zarak was allegedly told to discuss the matter with Ramos and sort it out on her own. That’s not typical HR behavior and begs the question as to whether there may be more to the story.
As a result of her alleged treatment, Zarak’s lawsuit claims she has “suffered and continues to suffer humiliation, emotional distress, and mental and physical pain and anguish as a result of losing her job.” Because of this, she is seeking a variety of damages, including damages for “lost wages, lost employee benefits, bonuses, vacation benefits, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.”
When responding to the lawsuit, a spokesman with Netflix said:
“We have previously looked into these claims and determined they were unfounded. Netflix works hard to ensure that employees with families, or who are starting a family, have the flexibility and support they need.”