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 named plaintiff.
On March 24, 2023, Parties agreed to resolve this putative class action under confidential terms.
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.”
Cynthia Allen and Kristine Webb, the named plaintiffs in this putative class action, suffered precisely these types of impediments to her career—due to their choice to become a mother—that the PDA sought to prevent. Both plaintiffs allege that they were penalized and subsequently terminated by AT&T for their respective pregnancies- and childbirth-related absences. AT&T terminated both Ms. Allen and Ms. Webb shortly after their respective children were born, detrimentally destabilizing one of the most exciting and life-changing times for her family. Both Ms. Allen and Ms. Webb seek to represent all non-exempt, non-managerial female employees in AT&T’s corporate stores nationwide who were denied excused absences for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions at any time from April 26, 2017 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.