SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A woman is suing Wageworks, which advertises itself as a “provider of tax-advantaged consumer directed health, commuter & employee benefit plans,” alleging she asked for pregnancy leave and, following that, took a vacation and was fired. Plaintiff alleges that she had positive performance reviews leading up to her leave request, vacation and termination. Plaintiff says that her employer was just not happy about the fact that she was exercising her right to take leave.
Employers should be weary of terminating pregnant women or any employee on or about to take leave. It looks bad, and if the employee happens to have a miscarriage or difficult pregnancy, it looks worse. Employers should wait until an employee returns from leave before taking any action respecting their employment.
Good performance reviews is another bad fact for Wageworks, if it’s true. Employers are best advised to document grievances with an employee’s work product and/or behavior prior to firing, to avoid the appearance of discrimination.
If Wageworks can show it was restructuring and/or another non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination, it may win the case. At will employees can be fired at the will of the employer, for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. But, bad timing and/or bad documentation can give a plaintiff just what they need to argue the employer’s claimed reason for termination is a “pretext” for discrimination.
|This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.|
|The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.|