Papa Don’t Preach

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Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Shipley’s Donuts, a Katy, Texas franchise violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it ordered an employee it suspected of being pregnant to certify that she could continue working or take an unpaid leave of absence and by firing her when she refused the order. Shipley’s owner and general manager learned that a Shipley’s employee, Brooke Foley, might be pregnant. Shipley’s then ordered Foley to obtain a doctor’s release stating that her pregnancy was not “high-risk” and that she could continue performing her duties. Foley had not asked for any pregnancy-related accommodation. She refused the order and told Shipley’s that it could not require her to get such a certification. Shipley’s then terminated Foley’s employment. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer cannot require a pregnant employee (or in this case an employee suspected of being pregnant) to provide medical certification of the ability to continue working unless the employee requests an accommodation in connection with the pregnancy. Shipley’s learned this the hard way. Foley filed suit and the case settled earlier this month for $45,000 and other nonmonetary remedies.