On May 14, 2018, Cohen Milstein and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project filed a putative Title VII employment discrimination class action against AT&T Mobility LLC (AT&T) for violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The lawsuit also includes individual Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act claims on behalf of the two named plaintiffs.

Case Background

When Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it recognized that “discrimination against pregnant women is one of the chief ways in which women’s careers have been impeded and women employees treated like second-class employees.” 

Katia Hills and Cynthia Allen, the two named plaintiffs in this case, suffered precisely the type of impediments to their careers—due to their choice to become mothers—that the PDA sought to prevent.  Ms. Hills and Ms. Allen allege that they were penalized and subsequently terminated by AT&T for their pregnancy- and childbirth-related absences.  AT&T terminated both women shortly after their children were born, detrimentally destabilizing one of the most exciting and life-changing times for their families.  Ms. Hills and Ms. Allen seek to represent female AT&T employees nationwide who were denied excused absences for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions under AT&T’s Sales Attendance Guidance (SAG) policy.

AT&T’s SAG policy, which governs attendance procedures for non-exempt, non-managerial employees in AT&T’s company-owned stores nationwide, imposes a “point” each time an employee is absent or late to work.  An employee is terminated if she accumulates too many points.  Although the policy provides for thirteen separate categories of excused absences, nowhere does it mention pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. 

The PDA prevents companies from treating pregnant and non-pregnant employees differently in extending employment benefits, including exemptions from disciplinary policies.  AT&T’s SAG policy must comply with the PDA and must provide excused absences for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

For More Information About This Case

Female AT&T employees who have information about AT&T’s SAG policy or have experienced difficulty receiving excused absences for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions while working for AT&T should contact Gillian Thomas at gthomas@aclu.org, (212) 549-2500, or Kalpana Kotagal at kkotagal@cohenmilstein.com, 202-408-4600 Miriam Nemeth at mnemeth@cohenmilstein.com, 202-408-4600.

The case is styled: Katia Hills, et al. v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC, Case No. 3:17-cv-00556-JD-MGG, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.