A proposed class action lawsuit claims that Dolgencorp, LLC and parent company Dollar General have illegally discriminated against pregnant employees by forcing expectant mothers with lifting restrictions into unpaid leave. Specifically, the complaint argues, Dollar General failed to make accommodations such as assigning “light duty” for pregnant warehouse employees, even though it made such allowances for workers with injuries or other temporary disabilities.
The complaint claims the lead plaintiff became pregnant around January 2018 while working in the defendant’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse and was given a lifting restriction of 20 pounds by her doctor. Instead of making accommodations that would allow the plaintiff to continue working, Dollar General placed the woman on unpaid leave for the duration of her pregnancy, the case claims.
Around February 2019, about three months after her return from leave, the plaintiff became pregnant again, but was hesitant to inform Dollar General due to harassing comments she had received following her return to work, the case states. After informing Dollar General of her second pregnancy, the woman, the case alleges, was again placed on leave and was denied a vacation payout she was set to receive, in part due to a grievance she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In November 2019, as a result of the harassment and retaliation she had experienced, the plaintiff resigned, the suit says.
According to the case, the defendant’s failure to accommodate the needs of pregnant workers constitutes intentional discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint also contends that Dollar General’s policies had a disparate impact on pregnant employees, since these workers were not offered the same accommodations as others with temporary disabilities.
The lawsuit looks to represent all pregnant warehouse employees with lifting restrictions who worked for the defendant in the U.S. since the implementation of the policy at issue. The suit requests that class members be given front pay, back pay and damages for emotional distress caused by the defendant’s alleged discrimination.