Federal lawsuit accuses grocery chain of pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is one of the things federal law prohibits in the workplace. Now, whether or not pregnancy discrimination has occurred can be a difficult thing to pin down. A lot of different types of evidence could end up playing a big role in cases alleging pregnancy discrimination. For one, whether or not a given worker was subjected to such discrimination not only depends on how she was treated, but how non-pregnant workers were treated. This is because this can touch on whether the pregnant worker was subjected to unequal treatment.

Recently, a federal class action lawsuit was brought here in Tennessee against a grocery store chain alleging that its policies subject pregnant workers to unequal treatment.

In the lawsuit, a Tennessee woman who works at one of the chain's stores alleges that she was unlawfully discriminated against during pregnancy.

According to the woman, after she experienced some complications a few months into her pregnancy, she received a doctor's note saying she couldn't do any heavy lifting.

Initially, the store let her work with a heavy lifting restriction, the woman says. However, according to her, a couple weeks into this, the store claimed that company policy didn't allow for her to work with a restriction. She was then told that she would have to go on unpaid leave until she was able to work without a lifting restriction again, the woman claims.

The woman says she was eventually allowed to come back to work after spending several weeks on unpaid leave.

The woman argues that the company's policies constitute pregnancy discrimination because they allow injured workers, but not pregnant workers, to receive accommodations. Among the things the woman is asking for in the lawsuit is for the chain to change its policies.

One wonders what kinds of evidence and arguments will end up coming up during the course of this case. One also wonders what impacts this lawsuit and its eventual outcome will ultimately have.

Source: The Tennessean, "Kroger sued by Nashville woman for pregnancy discrimination in class action suit," Jamie McGee, Nov. 15, 2016

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