Woman Says Amazon Fired Her Because of Pregnancy
A former employee of Amazon’s Lehigh County distribution center is suing the company, saying she was fired because the company wouldn’t accommodate her pregnancy.
Cathleen Stewart filed the suit last month in the federal court at Philadelphia. She says she told her supervisor in February 2011 that she was pregnant — but was still given a verbal warning for time spent “off-task” while she experienced nausea and required frequent bathroom trips.
She says she was given two more written warnings in March, before she obtained an official form from her doctor, restricting the amount of weight she could carry and warning her supervisors that nausea would continue to be an issue. Supervisors still asked her to pick up heavy items, she says, giving her the option of checking in with a “help desk” to verify the item’s weight if she had concerns.
She was terminated in April 2011, due to “low productivity” — a problem cause, she says, by Amazon’s refusal to accommodate her pregnancy.
“Amazon fails and refuses to treat ‘disabilities caused by pregnancy’ on the same terms as it does for disabilities caused by other conditions,” her lawyer, Harold Funt, wrote in the lawsuit. He said the company “discriminated against Ms. Stewart because of her sex with malice and reckless indifference to her rights.”
Amazon’s Lehigh Valley operations have attracted negative publicity before — including 2011 coverage of employees being forced to work in sweltering conditions .
Amazon has not yet responded to the lawsuit. See the full filing below.