Pregnancy is a natural process, and many women in Tennessee can carry a child to term with no problems. However, common knowledge says that some behaviors should be modified for the safety of the baby and the health of the mother, even in a low-risk pregnancy. Sometimes, a doctor may advise an expectant mother to avoid certain activities, such as lifting or standing for too long, and the law protects women from discrimination at work when these accommodations are necessary. When businesses ignore this law across the board, they risk facing claims for mass torts.
Recently, two women in different states filed a class-action lawsuit against Walmart because they say they were subjected to discriminatory practices during their pregnancies. Both women say they repeatedly requested accommodations and provided documentation from doctors instructing the women to avoid heavy lifting. Nevertheless, their managers refused to relieve them of strenuous duties, saying their pregnancies were no excuse. One of the women was hospitalized after lifting a 35-pound tray of chicken.
When one of the women inquired about Walmart’s policy for pregnancy leaves, her manager apparently fired her. The other woman reported being forced to take two months unpaid leave after requesting not to be assigned to climb ladders. When she returned to work after her baby was born, she was given a demotion and a pay cut. Apparently, these women are only two of several who have reported discrimination in Walmart’s policies for pregnant employees.
Filing mass torts or class-action lawsuits is one way in which individuals can seek justice from a large corporation. In this case, the women will attempt to prove that Walmart violated their rights through gender discrimination. When people in Tennessee feel they have been treated unjustly and that they may be only a few of a larger group who have been harmed in the same way, they may consult an attorney to determine if their situation may qualify for class action status.
Source: mic.com, “A class-action lawsuit says Walmart discriminated against pregnant employees“, Marie Soils, May 16, 2017