We've covered pregnancy discrimination many times before on this blog, in part because the frequency of these cases is shocking. Not only is pregnancy discrimination prohibited by several state and federal laws, but it is also a terrible way to treat employees. Yet, pregnancy discrimination is still happening in Pennsylvania and all over the country, and many women lose their jobs each year after their employers find out that they are expecting.
A four-star hotel is claiming that the recent termination of a guest services employee was the result of a verbal slip in which she said "bye bye" instead of "goodbye" to a guest. However, the former employee claims that her employer's disapproval of her pregnancy was made apparent before she was fired through workplace harassment and derogatory public remarks by her manager.
If the allegations are true, none of this conduct is acceptable or legal. Employers all over the country have a duty to treat their employees equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability status, or national origin. Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited by both equal protection laws under the constitution and by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against employees taking maternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.
The woman is pursuing a class action lawsuit against her former employer as well, seeking unpaid wages along with other service workers. The hotel is in Las Vegas, where hospitality workers are not unionized. She says that this leads to a sense of powerlessness and that workplace abuse is common in an environment without a union presence.
Source: Examiner, "Pregnant employee fired from Las Vegas hotel for saying 'bye bye,'" Danny Cox, May 18, 2012