While we’ve made great strides as a society in the past few years when it comes to pregnancy discrimination, there are times when you realize we still have a long way to go. One recent example of pregnancy discrimination occurred in South Florida, specifically at the directions of the owners of the company.
Rayna Katz worked GR Restaurant Management Group in Deerfield Beach, Florida. While she was working in the human resources department, she was instructed by the company owners to check candidates’ Facebook pages to see whether the candidates were married, had any kids or if they were of childbearing age.
It was no surprise to Katz what happened next. When she became pregnant and had certain health complications, the management at the company allegedly harassed her about taking time off to go to doctor’s appointments.
Katz notified her employers in January 2012 that she would be taking maternity leave that following July. Almost immediately, her employers instructed her to find and hire a replacement. Katz was fired prior to her scheduled maternity leave in July, once her replacement was hired and trained.
In her lawsuit, Katz believes that she was fired not only for being pregnant, but for expressing concerns to her managers about the unlawful employment practices she had previously been asked to engage in.
Katz alleges other misconduct by the company, including:
- Not addressing sexual harassment accusations leveled against the company by female employees.
- Making jokes about the request Katz put in to have company-wide sexual harassment training.
- Being told by management that she should only hire young male employees to work for a secondary company owned by the same individuals. The second company is involved in the metal fabrication business.
According to Katz, one of the owners told her “This is my company and I can do whatever I want” when she raised concerns about making hiring decisions based on gender, marital status or family status.
So, what has your experience been like? Were you working when you got pregnant? Are you working now? How is your company responding to your pregnancy? Are you familiar with all of the maternity leave laws? If not, now’s the time to get familiar so you don’t find yourself in Katz’ situation.