March 24, 2023

AT&T agreed to end a former salesperson's suit claiming she was disciplined and fired because of company policies that penalize absences related to pregnancy, according to filings in Indiana federal court.

Katia Hills and AT&T Mobility Services LLC agreed to resolve the 5-year-old suit during a Thursday settlement conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich, who ordered them to file dismissal papers by April 24, according to a text-only docket entry. U.S. District Judge Jon E. DeGuilio subsequently vacated a pretrial conference and jury trial that were set for this year.

Terms of the agreement were not immediately available Friday.

Hills sued AT&T Mobility Services in July 2017, saying she worked for the company as a retail employee in 2014 and 2015 but was fired for seeking time away from work to manage complications with her pregnancy.

According to the suit, AT&T refused to excuse absences related to pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions under its "sales attendance guidance" policy, while allowing absences in over a dozen other categories, including jury duty and approved short-term disability.

The policy, which Hills said applied to nonexempt, nonmanagerial employees nationwide, imposed points for unexcused absences from work, late arrivals or early departures. After an employee hit four points in a 12-month period, AT&T could limit their ability to transfer or be promoted and could fire workers after they accrue eight points during that same period, according to the suit.

Hills said she was given points for absences related to her pregnancy while similarly situated co-workers had their absences and tardy arrivals overlooked, ultimately leading to her termination for accruing too many points.

According to the suit, Hills' supervisor also tried to prevent her from learning what kinds of leave were available to her under AT&T's policies and pressured her not to take the full 12 weeks of leave she would be entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act after giving birth.

. . .

Hills is represented by Gillian Thomas of the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project, Lynn A. Toops and Lisa LaFornara of Cohen & Malad LLP and Joseph M. Sellers, Kalpana Kotagal and Harini Srinivasan of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

Read the complete article on Law360.