A California employee recently filed suit against her employer, the Albertsons supermarket chain, claiming that they wrongfully failed to accommodate her pregnancy, which led to the death of her child. The 30-year-old woman has worked at the Atascadero store since 2007; she is currently a general merchandise manager. The job includes climbing ladders, moving heavy pallet jacks and loading and unloading pallets filled with goods such as bags of charcoal or cat litter.
The woman alleges that early in her pregnancy, she asked to be moved to a position with lighter work due to a history of pre-term delivery. Her request was allegedly denied even after she provided doctors' notes. In November 2012, the woman found herself in pain and asked to leave work. Her employer refused the request, and the woman continued to work. Later that night, the woman went into labor. When she arrived at the hospital, she was informed that her child was experiencing brain damage and losing fluid. Two days later, the employee gave birth to a baby girl who lived only a few minutes. Her suit alleges that, had the employer moved her to another position, the baby's death could have been avoided.
The store has refused to comment on the pending litigation. However, a representative stated that the company has a policy in place of providing reasonable accommodations to workers experiencing disabilities related to pregnancy.
When an employer refuses to accommodate an employee to meet a medical necessity, an employment law attorney may be able to help. In some cases, it may be possible for an attorney to ensure an employer's compliance with the law and preserve an employee's job. In other cases, it may be possible to help injured employees seek financial compensation for their injuries.
Source: Huffington Post, "Albertsons Worker Claims Chain Is Responsible For Death Of Her Baby", Dave Jamieson, June 27, 2013