Austin software firm sued for pregnancy discrimination — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Austin software firm sued for pregnancy discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Austin, Tx.-based e-MDs, which develops software for managing medical practices, faces charges it terminated an employee because she took maternity leave.

The EEOC has filed suit in federal court on behalf of the fired woman, claiming the company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it laid her off while she was recuperating from a difficult pregnancy.

The woman worked as a client service analyst for the company. Following her pregnancy, she suffered from heart arrhythmia and an adrenal gland condition that substantially limited her circulatory function. She asked for extended leave as an accommodation.

e-MDs decided to cut a position while she was on leave. Her immediate supervisor recommended another, less qualified employee for termination, but supervisors overruled him and had the woman terminated instead.

She filed a pregnancy discrimination complaint with the EEOC. When the parties could not settle the dispute through the commission’s conciliation process, the EEOC sued on her behalf. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

Advice: Always have objective, business-related criteria for your firing decisions. If you ever have to deny a disability accommodation, be prepared to provide documentation showing the accommodation constituted an undue burden.

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