Two female former employees of AT&T Mobility today accused the subsidiary of telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. of violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The women, Katia Hills and Cynthia Allen, allege that AT&T Mobility’s “no fault” attendance policy, which assigns point-based demerits for late arrivals, early departures, or absences discriminates against pregnant women. Both women were fired after accruing points for missing work due to pregnancy-related medical care, and, in the case of one of the women, also due to her infant son’s emergency medical care.
They filed their pregnancy discrimination claim on behalf of all female non-managerial employees in the company’s corporate retail stores nationwide, and they seek redress for all of the employees whose rights have been violated. The case has broad, national implications for the legal boundaries of “no-fault” attendance policies.
Both Hills and Allen were penalized under the company’s nationwide “Sales Attendance Guidelines” policy. The policy exempts a number of absences from the point system, ranging from jury duty to short-term disability — but does not mention pregnancy.
Under the PDA, companies cannot treat pregnant and non-pregnant employees differently in extending employment benefits, such as exemptions from disciplinary policies. Under the FMLA, which grants up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees to care for their own serious medical condition or that of an immediate family member, employers may neither interfere with employees’ right to take such leave nor retaliate against them for doing so.
• Settled the case as to the named plaintiffs.
• Filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the class, in order to try to appeal the denial of class certification and revive the class action