AT&T Mobility LLC and AT&T Services, Inc. have been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit filed by two women who claim they were subject to discrimination and ultimately lost their jobs after the companies refused to excuse absences related to pregnancy and childbirth under its Sales Attendance Guidance (SAG) policy.
The 28-page lawsuit explains AT&T’s SAG policy, as it’s applied to non-exempt, non-managerial workers, imposes a “point” or fraction of a point for “unexcused absences from work, late arrivals, or early departures.” Employees who exceed a certain threshold of points face termination or may have greater difficulty being promoted or transferred to other stores, the suit says. While SAG allows for excused absences, late arrivals or early departures in “13 delineated situations,” the lawsuit claims, the policy is devoid of any mention of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
The plaintiffs, who the case says worked in separate AT&T stores in different states, allege that while they incurred points for absences, late arrivals and early departures related to their pregnancies, similar transgressions of co-workers who were not pregnant were “routinely overlooked.” AT&T’s alleged refusal to excuse time out of work related to pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions constitutes a civil rights violation, the plaintiffs assert:
“Pregnancy is a fact of life for employers and employees alike. Almost 85 percent of women will have at least one pregnancy during their careers, and virtually all pregnant women experience at least ‘morning sickness’ with their pregnancies—and typically numerous other symptoms that interfere with work and are disabling. Even an uncomplicated pregnancy requires regular doctor’s visits, at increasing frequency as pregnancy progresses. And research estimates that over 250,000 women per year are denied the workplace accommodations they need for their pregnancies, including excused absences for medical care.
Plaintiffs therefore bring Title VII claims on behalf of themselves and all nonexempt, non-managerial female employees in AT&T’s corporate stores nationwide who were denied excused absences pursuant to AT&T’s Sales Attendance Guidance policy.”