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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Are Pregnant Employees Protected From Unfavorable Treatment Which Causes Economic Harm?

Joyful pregnant woman working in the office

Throughout the past two decades, our Marion County pregnancy discrimination lawyers have fought for the rights of pregnant employees. Through their years of experience representing pregnancy discrimination victims, our Ocala, Florida pregnancy discrimination attorneys know that pregnant employees are often targeted for unfavorable treatment after disclosing their pregnancy. In far too many cases, pregnant employees are targeted for negative performance evaluations, disciplinary action, performance improvement plans, and demotion. In some cases, employers even take actions intended to undermine the work performance of pregnant employees and thereby lower their take-home pay.

Employers’ underlying motive when targeting pregnant employees for unfavorable treatment is to force them to quit. A pregnant employee who quits because of unfavorable treatment, employers mistakenly believe, has no legal basis for bringing a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. In this article, our Marion County pregnancy discrimination lawyers explain how the decision in Stidhum v. 161-10 Hillside Auto Ave, LLC, Case No. 21-cv-07163 (E.D. N.Y. Sept. 15, 2022) demonstrates that pregnant employees who are subjected to unfavorable treatment which causes them economic harm have a legal basis for bringing a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

In that case, a woman named Stidhum brought a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, 161-10 Hillside Auto Ave, LLC (Hillside Auto), pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Under the PDA, employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Stidhum alleges that Hillside Auto discriminated against her on the basis of pregnancy in violation of the PDA.

Hillside is a car dealership. Stidhum was employed by Hillside as a salesperson. In this position, Stidhum was supervised by a man named Thanwalla. In December 2018, Thanwalla went on vacation and a man named Guzman was put in charge of the Finance Department in his absence. This period coincided almost exactly with when Stidhum informed her co-workers that she was pregnant. Stidhum had learned that she was pregnant on November 23, 2018, and she informed her co-workers, including Thanwalla and Guzman, on December 1, 2018. Stidhum alleges that she received her salary, bonus, and commission before Guzman took control of the Finance Department in Thanwalla’s absence. However, she alleges that once Guzman took control, her bonus decreased, and she was denied her commission.

Prior to December 2018, Stidhum describes her work performance as “exemplary,” alleging that she sold between 25 and 31 cars per month. Stidhum claims that after she announced her pregnancy, Guzman started making her customers wait anywhere between forty and sixty minutes and that her customers walked out of the dealership as a result of the longer wait times. Stidhum further claims that due to Guzman’s actions, she sold only eight to ten cars between the day that she informed her co-workers that she was pregnant and her last day of employment. Stidhum contends that she called Guzman “constantly” to inquire about the customer wait times during this period. He reportedly told her that all salespersons had to wait this long, but Stidhum alleges that the wait time for other salespersons remained at approximately twenty minutes (compared to her forty to sixty minutes).

As a result of Stidhum’s drop in sales, her bonus was reduced, and she was denied her commission. When Thanwalla returned from vacation on January 10, 2019, Stidhum informed him of Guzman’s “sabotage.” Thanwalla allegedly told Stidhum that he would give her a bonus of two-hundred dollars. However, he failed to provide Stidhum with any bonus, discipline Guzman, or restore Stidhum’s usual wait times. On January 14, 2019, Stidhum resigned.

Unlawful Pregnancy Discrimination

Hillside Auto filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Stidhum’s pregnancy discrimination claim. In moving for dismissal, Hillside Auto argued that Stidhum’s pregnancy discrimination claim failed as a matter of law because she voluntarily resigned. In denying Hillside Auto’s motion for dismissal, the trial court focused on the economic harm to Stidhum because the alleged pregnancy-based unfavorable treatment. The trial court explained that Stidhum claims that Hillside Auto “decreased her bonus by increasing the average wait time for her customers after she announced her pregnancy, without doing the same to the customers of non-pregnant co-workers, thereby decreasing the number of sales she was able to make.” Pregnant employees, the trial court pointed out, are protected from pregnancy-based unfavorable treatment which decreases their take-home pay. In other words, the trial court reasoned, Hillside was not immunized from liability for pregnancy discrimination simply because Stidhum voluntarily resigned. Instead, Stidhum’s allegations that she was subjected to pregnancy-based unfavorable treatment and that pregnancy-based unfavorable treatment decreased her take-home pay were sufficient to establish unlawful pregnancy discrimination in violation of the PDA.

Marion County Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida have litigated employment discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years. If you been subjected to pregnancy discrimination or have questions about your rights as a pregnant employee under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes pregnancy discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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