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Whole Foods sued by ex-employee for pregnancy discrimination

Time and time again employers are being called out for failing to prevent unfair treatment of expectant and new mothers and this month is no exception.

One Tallahassee mother recently filed a lawsuit alleging that her ex-employer did just that.

Here’s how a popular grocery chain is being taken to court after a former employee claims that her employer discriminated against her and violated federal law.

Employer retaliates against employee for maternity leave

A prominent grocery chain is under fire after a former employee alleges that she was terminated after being discriminated against for being pregnant.

According to the lawsuit an employee who worked at Whole Foods for two years took maternity leave. Upon returning to work she was scheduled to work eight days in a row going against the store’s policy. The employee complained to management that the work schedule was negatively affecting her health and parenting her newborn.

Management dismisses employee’s complaints

The store’s management dismissed her concerns and failed to make accommodations. Shortly thereafter she received a scathing employment review – even though she had already received one before taking her leave. The employee took matters into her own hands and filed a complaint with the regional office. Ten days after filing the complaint she was fired. Upon receiving her personnel file she found that the employer had forged her signature on a discipline form that she had refused to sign during the termination meeting.

Mothers' rights under federal law

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) established an employer’s duties to their female employees who are pregnant or new mothers.

Together the acts grant expectant and new mothers the right to reasonable accommodations provided by their employer for medical conditions related to their pregnancy and childbirth. Reasonable accommodations can include assignment of light duty tasks, a modification of workplace duties or schedule and allow unpaid and disability leave. It is unlawful for employers to discriminate or retaliate against expectant or new mothers.

If Whole Foods is found to have violated these laws they could be facing serious penalties. Pregnancy and childbirth should be joyous moments in a mother’s life. If you believe that you were discriminated against during or after your pregnancy it may be a good idea to consult with a seasoned attorney to discuss your rights.

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