After working as a human resources director since July 2011, Ms. Katz claims her employers instructed her to search on Facebook to see if future job candidates were “married, had any children or were of child bearing age.” She also claims that the company failed to address sexual harassment complaints made by female employees. The former HR director adds that she was told to hire only younger, male employees for one of the companies.
Ms. Katz complains that when she became pregnant and suffered complications associated with her pregnancy, she was harassed about taking time of for doctor’s appointments and was replaced and then fired.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Katz alleges pregnancy discrimination and retaliation for raising concerns about unlawful employment practices.
Ms. Katz received a “right to sue” determination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal law enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. The lawsuit asks for damages of more than $15,000 for violations of state and federal laws against pregnancy discrimination, gender discrimination and retaliation for complaining about retaliation.
Ms. Katz, 33, was human resources director for a company that manages restaurants, as well in the metals business. When she began her employment, she did not immediately reveal to her bosses that she was pregnant due to hearing “disparaging comments in the workplace about women and pregnancy.”
She alleges that after she was asked to search Facebook for potential applicants, she advised her boss that legally he could not base hiring decisions on the marital or family status of potential hires. She was told by her employer, “This is my company and I can do whatever I want,” according to the lawsuit.
Ms. Katz states that in late 2011 when she reluctantly informed her boss that she was pregnant and was experiencing complications, for which she required doctor visits every two weeks, her relationship with her boss began to deteriorate. By January 2012, her boss told her to find a replacement for her maternity leave. Although she informed her boss that she would not be leaving until July, six months later, he insisted she hire a replacement immediately to take her place. According to the lawsuit, the bosses transferred all her duties to the replacement.
Ms. Katz states that in April she was fired for “disparaging” the company. Her bosses allegedly taped a conversation Ms. Katz had with an insurance agent complaining about her treatment by her boss. The agent told Katz she was working in a “hostile” workplace.
The company tried to fight Katz’s claim for unemployment compensation, but she won benefits from the state. During the hearing, her boss admitted that he illegally taped Katz’s conversations.
Katz decided to sue because “they shouldn’t get away with treating women like this, especially pregnant women who are going through emotional stress.”
It is difficult enough to find a job these days. The lawsuit did not state that she received warnings for poor job performance. If she was fired solely due to health issues relating to her pregnancy that would be considered discrimination, since it has nothing to do with her job performance.
Do you think she is partially at fault for not revealing her pregnancy when she was hired? Feel free to comment on this blog post. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).