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Illegal status doesn’t stop job-Bias suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Maria Pineda worked for Bath Unlimited although she didn’t have legal work papers. Two weeks after Pineda divulged her pregnancy, Bath fired her. The EEOC asked for an explanation. Bath cited excessive absenteeism, but Pineda claimed to have had a doctor’s note for each absence, which the company accepted before her pregnancy.

A court ordered a jury trial, which will focus on pregnancy bias, not her illegal status. (Pineda v. Bath Unlimited, No. 06-CV-2328, DC NJ, 2007)

Advice: Enforce all rules equally for all employees. Even undocumented employees can sue your organization for on-the-job employment discrimination. Federal courts will entertain discrimination lawsuits, ignoring illegal status. Such employees probably won’t win lost wages (since they can’t work legally), but they still may be awarded other damages, such as for emotional pain and suffering.

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