An Alberston’s manager, Reyna Garcia, filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the grocery chain for failing to accommodate her high risk pregnancy with light duty.
After she became pregnant Reyna Garcia told her store manager that she had a history of pre-term delivery and asked that her pregnancy be accommodated through lighter work. The store manager’s response was “I thought you said nothing was going to change?” Her requests to be moved to the deli counter or customer service were turned down. In fact, Ms. Garcia requested reasonable accommodations three times, but the requests were ignored. She had no choice but to continue working because she could not financially afford to stop and needed the health insurance due to her pregnancy.
One day last November, she was in pain and asked to leave work. She was denied her request and she continued heavy lifting at the store. Later that evening, she went in to labor and learned that her baby was losing fluid and sustaining brain damage. Ms. Garcia gave birth two days later, however the baby only lived for a few minutes.
Ms. Garcia took six weeks leave after the death of her baby under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). When she returned, she found that her responsibilities as a supervisor had been stripped and she was written up for poor job performance.
The lawsuit alleges that Albertson’s did not fulfill their responsibilities under California law, which requires the employer to engage the employee in the interactive process and finding a reasonable accommodation. Although we are making strides for expecting mother’s rights, by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act being recently been amended to include pregnancy as a disabling condition, Pregnancy is still not considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.