Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has reached a confidential settlement with a worker whose complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission sought to clarify the rights of pregnant women under a 2008 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The employee, Amy Crosby, a cleaner at the hospital making $9.09 an hour, filed the EEOC complaint in late March, alleging that the hospital pressured her into taking an unpaid leave when she was 23 weeks pregnant.
Crosby said she had told her supervisors that it was impossible for her to lift heavy bags of laundry and trash and that she wanted to continue working but wanted lighter duties during her temporary disability.
In support of her request, Crosby submitted a note from a chiropractic neurologist stating that she had pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome. The hospital however would not accept the chiropractor’s note and asked for a letter from Crosby’s obstetrician. The obstetrician said she could not diagnose Crosby and recommended a neurologist for the pains in her arm.
The National Women’s Law Center filed the complaint for Crosby under a 2008 amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act. That law expanded the definition of disability to cover more pregnancy-related impairments, and the EEOC issued regulations codifying the act in March 2011.
In spite of the settlement, Emily Martin, the general counsel of the law center, said there is still ambiguity surrounding the disabilities act that makes it difficult for both employers and employees to be completely clear about their rights.
“This is still a problem that is happening in way too many work places, especially in more physically demanding jobs with lower wage workers that have less flexibility at work,” Martin said.
In a statement about her settlement, Crosby said she was happy her complaint had been resolved quickly, but she said she worried some women in a similar situation still would have “no place to turn.”
Tallahassee Memorial Hospital declined to comment.
Article by: Adam Kerlin on Thomson Reuters News & Insight
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