• Wed, Mar 7 2012

Milwaukee Mom Awarded $148,000 In Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

HCS Medical Staffing, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was ordered by a federal judge to pay their former-employee Roxy Leger $148,000 for discrimination in a case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The fact that Leger is being compensated for her treatment is awesome. The pain and humiliation she had to go through is horrific.

Please imagine this scenario with me for just a moment:

You find out that you’re expecting a child. Normally, you’re excited and a little bit nervous. Once you finally tell your employer the good news, they start talking about your pregnancy like it’s a big ol’ joke. When you leave to attend prenatal doctor’s appointments, they suggest that you’re just trying to get extra time off. As you plan for maternity leave, they attempt to convince you that it doesn’t need to last more than a few days. They provide you with an “offensive graphic” of a machine that will allow you to come back to work earlier. (I don’t even want to know what this means or is alluding to…)

Finally, you had to the hospital and give birth a beautiful baby boy. While you’re recuperating from a C-section and bonding with your child in the hospital, your company is terminating your employment and your health insurance. Instead of calling to let you know, they send you a certified letter.

This is the treatment that Roxy Leger had to endure from her employers. As far as I’m concerned, thank goodness a judge showed HCS the error of their ways. Thank goodness this woman didn’t sit back and accept that type of treatment. Instead, she chose to find for fair employment practices by pursuing her case.

Parental leave for employees is a common debate among businesses and HR departments. Maternity leave is actually a pretty complex process and there’s a lot of things to consider. Parents need to discuss how much time they want to spend at home, what their re-entrance strategy is at work and what type of flexible hours your company might have to accommodate new families. We spend a lot of time discussing maternity leave here!

But one thing that should never be debatable, the fact that all employees deserve respect for their personal choices. The law allows every worker, male and female, to take time off work after they have a child. Or if they have a sick family member who needs care.

This woman’s employers were horrible. The company deserves to be ashamed of itself and it deserves the penalty that it will have to pay. I hope this case serves as a lesson for other backward bosses out there, working mothers deserve respect. In fact, we’re guaranteed it by law.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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