- A Pennsylvania site development company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) by terminating two employees because of their pregnancies, the workers alleged in a complaint (Hertzog and Poletini v. Aarcon Enterprises, Inc. 2:20-cv-00692 (W.D. Penn. May 11, 2020)).
- Kerri Hertzog and Ashley Poletini worked for Aarcon Enterprises for several years and received positive feedback regularly. The two announced their pregnancies at the same meeting with the president of Aarcon, who allegedly responded by calling Hertzog "nuts" and interrogating Poletini about the identity of the father and her plans to get married. He asked the women if they planned to take leave. When they said yes, he said he would "need to get another person in here anyways" to help "with the developments," according to the complaint.
- Four days after this meeting, another Aarcon employee told Hertzog and Poletini he needed to meet with them privately. In separate meetings, the worker allegedly told both women they were being laid off, as the company planned to eliminate their positions. At this time, Hertzog and Poletini were the only women working for the company. Aarcon hired its former office manager as well as the president's wife to fill their positions, neither of whom were pregnant.
Claims of discriminatory termination of pregnant workers emerge frequently. Like that of Hertzog and Poletini, many invoke the federal PDA, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — the agency that enforces the country's anti-discrimination laws — sued a Phoenix call center in early May, alleging it fired workers because of their pregnancies. Late last year, a longtime Urban Outfitters employee sued the company, making similar claims.
Other common PDA-invoking claims involve accommodations. While the PDA does not directly obligate employers to accommodate pregnant workers, it requires them to treat pregnant women the same as anyone else, sources previously told HR Dive. Employers must articulate a non-discriminatory reason for denying pregnant workers accommodations it offered to other employees.