As we have learned through experience, and have attempted to communicate through this blog, many employers really need to be trained in basic discrimination law and best practices to avoid lawsuits. There can be no better illustration of this than a complaint just filed this week in New York state court in Manhattan by a former medical assistant who worked for a female Ob-Gyn doctor – a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She claims that she was fired because of her pregnancy, and is suing to recover damages under New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 290 et seq. and the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq.
According to the complaint, the employee notified the doctor that she was pregnant, and then began to attend “occasional” appointments with her own doctor. Her obstetrician-employer allegedly began to harass her “by expressing frustration and annoyance at [her] late arrival to work after the appointments, even though [she] always gave her employer advance notice of all appointments and, if necessary, stayed at the office late on days on which she attended prenatal appointments in order to complete her job responsibilities.”
Indeed, plaintiff alleges that “Fearful that going to the appointments would cost her her job, [she] even skipped prenatal appointments. The medical staff at [her doctor’s office] took notice of [her] missed appointments and advised her that it was important to the well-being of her baby that she attend her prenatal appointments.”
Her employer fired her due to her absences, she claims, after she telephoned and “and reported that she was at the hospital in labor. [She] told the office manager that she was in the hospital and was experiencing labor contractions. The office manager responded that [the employer] ‘can’t take it anymore’ and was terminating [her] employment.”
Once again — you can’t make this stuff up!
CAVEAT: It must be emphasized, of course, that these are merely unproven allegations set forth in a newly-filed complaint and not evidence or proof, and that the defendants have not had the opportunity yet to respond.