News Regarding a Recent Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit
Stop for a minute and think about whether your workplace is free of discrimination. So many people do not even realize when their coworkers or supervisors exhibit discriminatory behavior. We want you to know that you do not have to tolerate discrimination of any kind in your workplace. If you think you have experienced workplace discrimination, please seek legal assistance from an Arizona employment law attorney.
Today, we want to talk about the recent case of an Arizona woman being awarded $3.8 million in a lawsuit that alleged discrimination against the Tucson Fire Department.
This Was Clear Discrimination
The case we want to discuss today began back in 2012 when firefighter Carrie Clark says that the Tucson Fire Department discriminated against her and retaliated against her after she asked for a designated area to pump breast milk for her newborn child. She also says they violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act under Title VII.
Both state and federal law dictate that workplaces must have a private space other than a bathroom for women to pump breast milk and they cannot discriminate against women in the workplace based on “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”
Clark was perfectly able to perform her duties as a firefighter, yet when she asked for the private space, she was given bad work assignments and short-term assignments at several different stations. None of the locations she was asked to work at had appropriate rooms for her to pump in.
Clark says that, because of the retaliation, she had to use her sick-leave and vacation days when she left work to find a place to pump. She says this caused her to become anxious and stressed, unable to pump once for more than 24-hours.
Clark says she continued to face retaliation, with fire department employees asking her if she was the one who was complaining. When she became pregnant again, she was told to perform firefighting drills that nobody else was asked to perform.
She has now been awarded $3.8 million.
Why Is This Still A Problem?
Women face sexual discrimination in the workplace more than anyone else and often that discrimination revolves around pregnancy.
- This type of discrimination is illegal.
Most of the time, discrimination against women due to pregnancy or childbirth issues is done by men. Unfortunately, when women try to exercise the rights afforded to them by law, supervisors try to make them out to be “complainers.” This is absolutely wrong and condones a hostile work environment. It sends a signal to coworkers that it is okay to belittle or harass anyone who files a legitimate complaint.
If we have learned anything from the “Me Too” movement, it is that times are changing. Some places, particularly male-dominated workplaces, are changing slower than others, but this case shows that the courts will force change if they have to.
What We Can Do Moving Forward
You do not have to accept being unfairly treated at work. If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you may need to seek legal assistance from a qualified and experienced Arizona employment law attorney. You may be eligible for various kind of compensation, including:
- back pay if you were fired
- reinstatement if you were fired or demoted
- promotion if it is due
- legal fees and court costs
- pain and suffering damages
- punitive damages against your employer
By speaking up, you can help do two things – receive justice for the wrongs that have been done to you and help ensure that nobody else has to experience what you did.