This case was brought before the District Court of Massachusetts by Christine Fiske, who sued her former employer MeYou Health, Inc., a company providing tools and resources to help individuals stay healthy, for pregnancy discrimination.
Fiske was the company’s online marketing director when she informed her boss that she was pregnant.
From that moment on, according to her lawsuit, the conditions of her employment changed. She claims she went from being an employee in good standing to someone whose work was picked apart. She also claims her boss said that the company would have to plan around her pregnancy to prepare for the possibility that she may not return after her baby was born. (Warning: Comments like these can come back to haunt you.)
Three months after announcing she was pregnant, Fiske was terminated. The company claimed her position was eliminated due to budgetary constraints — a legitimate business reason, the validity of which was bolstered by the fact that her job duties were then spread out among several existing employees rather than being reassigned to a single individual.
The federal judge who overheard Fiske’s case sided with Joyce’s argument and said her case could move forward.
So employers beware: Having a legitimate business reason to terminate an employee may not be enough to fend off a discrimination suit if an employee can make the argument that some form of discrimination played a factor in the decision. Note: MeYou Health has since settled the lawsuit with Fiske. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
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