Reyna Garcia worked at Albertson’s in Atascadero as general merchandise manager, which involved loading and unloading significant quantities of merchandise. When she became pregnant in 2012 and suffered pelvic pain, her doctor advised her to restrict the amount of merchandise she lifted. Ms. Garcia requested accommodation for her condition from Albertson’s, but they allegedly refused to accommodate her. Her baby daughter sadly died shortly after being born. Although Ms. Garcia returned to work, she claims that she has been retaliated against by her supervisors in the form of reduced managerial responsibilities and a frivolous complaint about her performance.
Discrimination of pregnant employees
Under California labor laws, a pregnant employee may request that her employer accommodate her associated medical condition, and her employer may not refuse to provide reasonable accommodation. This includes transferring her temporarily to a different role that would not involve strenuous activity, if another role is available. Similarly, a person with a known physical disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation of their condition by their employer, as long as the accommodation would not create undue hardship for the employer.
Claims under the California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act
Ms. Garcia has brought a claim against Albertson’s and her supervisors, based on five causes of action. Four of these relate to her physical disability and being pregnant, under the Fair Employment and Housing Act:
The defendants failed to engage in a timely good faith process with Ms. Garcia to work out reasonable accommodation in response to her request
Albertson’s failed to provide reasonable accommodation for her known physical disability in response to her request
They violated her right to reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy-related condition
She was retaliated against for opposing the above violations, which is in itself a violation of disability discrimination law
In violating the above aspects of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the defendants caused her emotional distress