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Lawsuits & Litigation

Howell Clinic Sued for Pregnancy, Gender Discrimination

— June 30, 2021

A veterinary technician in Howell Township recently filed a lawsuit against Howell Animal Hospital LLC over allegations of gender and pregnancy discrimination.

Earlier this year, Carly Suchecki, a veterinary technician in Howell Township, filed a lawsuit alleging she was subjected to “gender-based discrimination surrounding her pregnancy before she was ultimately fired from her position.” The suit was filed back in May against the owner of Howell Animal Hospital LLC, Mahmoud Hussein, and Diane Masera, the office manager for the clinic.

Image of a Pregnant Woman
Pregnant Woman; image courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie via Unsplash,

According to the suit, Suchecki began working at the animal clinic in 2017 as a consultant. She was later promoted and enjoyed her work. Then she got pregnant in 2020, and when she informed her boss, her hours were cut. The suit states:

“When … Hussein made the transparently discriminatory decision to cut [Suchecki’s] hours and ultimately terminate her from her role as a veterinary technician with Defendant Howell Animal Hospital after disclosing her pregnancy, he doubled down on his bigoted paternalism, stating ‘let her go have her baby and see how she can manage motherhood and a full-time job.’”

The suit further reads:

“There is simply no other way to say it: rather than accommodate Plaintiff’s pregnancy and request for a maternity leave, the defendants surreptitiously kicked her to the curb, depriving her of her income on the eve of the birth of her child.”

To make matters worse, the suit describes an environment of discrimination that existed at the clinic, especially based on gender and pregnancy. Suchecki said this environment of discrimination was “substantiated by the belief that pregnant women are too delicate and vulnerable to perform the responsibilities that the position required.” For example, the suit alleges Masera told Suchecki that Hussein “wanted to cut her hours over concerns that she was working too much now that she was pregnant.” The comments, the suit argues, were indicative of a “discriminatory belief that [Suchecki] was too delicate to work full-time as a pregnant woman.”

The defendants pushed back against the allegations and said Suchecki actually asked to work fewer hours because she was “tired from working her other job at her family business.” Additionally, they allege that “Suchecki left for a weeklong vacation during a global pandemic without informing anyone at the office or attempting to find another employee to cover her shifts.” However, Suchecki said she told the office of her vacation plans and claims that Masera “acknowledged the leave notice, as well as approved coverage for Suchecki’s shifts.”

On December 29, she was fired via text message shortly after being told that Hussein “was very upset.” Shortly after, Suchecki began assembling her lawsuit, alleging she experienced unfair employment actions. She is seeking a jury trial.


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