Merry Maids was sued earlier this month after it allegedly discriminated against a pregnant new-hire.
Merry Maids was hit with a lawsuit earlier this week for allegedly “violating the state’s Civil Rights Act after the company fired a newly hired employee after learning she was pregnant.” The suit was filed in Rhode Island Superior Court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island.
What happened, though? Well, according to the complaint, Julia Schultz of Bristol interviewed for a house cleaning position with Merry Maids when she was 16 weeks pregnant. For her interview, she met with Deborah Bellamy-Goslin, a Merry Maids manager, and “wore a baggy dress to the interview to conceal her pregnancy and was offered the position a week later.”
When she showed up for her orientation a while later wearing jeans and a t-shirt, Schultz was “escorted to the break room while Bellamy-Goslin made some phone calls.” Bellamy-Goslin eventually asked Schultz if she was expecting, and when she confirmed that yes, she was indeed pregnant, Bellamy-Goslin told her she “couldn’t offer her the job because of the physical demands.”
According to the suit, Bellamy-Goslin added that Schultz “’should be at home taking care of that special gift from God’ or words to that effect,” and added that Schultz “could reapply for the job after the birth of the baby.”
When commenting on the matter, Schultz said:
“When I left the building that day, I felt so ashamed, like I was doing something wrong by trying to work while pregnant. In a setting where women are expected to do it all, it’s absolutely wrong that any woman should be shamed and prevented from doing what she needs to do for her child.”
Soon after the incident, Schultz filed a complaint. At the moment, her suit is seeking a “court order finding the company’s conduct unlawful, reinstating Schultz to the position for which she had been hired, issuing an injunction to bar the company from engaging in similar acts of discrimination, and awarding Schultz monetary damages for pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages, for the violation of her rights.”
ACLU of R.I Executive Director Steven Brown chimed in on the matter and said:
“This lawsuit is a stark reminder that pregnancy discrimination, based on long-outdated notions of what a pregnant woman like Ms. Schultz can do in the workplace, remains an undeniable reality in the employment setting…Old stereotypes die hard, but we hope that this suit will serve as an alert that remedies are available to those who encounter this type of invidious discrimination in employment.”