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Law Firm Secretary Sues For Pregnancy Discrimination

Demetria Peart began working as a legal secretary for Latham Watkins in April of 2007. The fall of the same year, she learned that she was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, she was forced to take time off of work for complications related to her pregnancy. In January of 2008, she was told not to return.

Peart was approved for short term disability, but her request for time off because of pregnancy-related complications was not well received the by the Human Resources Manager. According to Peart's complaint in her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, he told her that her pregnancy was not his problem.

Peart also asserts that the HR manager told other members of the law firm that she was fired for taking time off while she was suffering from morning sickness. Peart is asserting a claim under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Under federal law, an employee or prospective employee is protected from discrimination based on pregnancy in hiring and firing decisions. Employers cannot treat an employee who is disabled by a pregnancy-related condition any differently than another employee. In this instance, Peart was not entitled to job protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but if the law firm allowed other employees who had been disabled before becoming eligible for the Act's protections to take disability leave, then she must be granted the same opportunity.

Peart is also seeking damages for wrongful termination.

Source: Blog of the Legal Times, "Fired Latham Secretary Alleges Pregnancy Discrimination," April 22, 2013

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