The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio have filed a discrimination claim on behalf of a Springfield mother, alleging she was fired for being pregnant.
A news release from the ACLU says Jennifer Maudlin, a single mother of two, was fired by Inside Out, a faith-based community organization.
William Stout, president of Inside Out, denied that the organization discriminates against pregnant workers and said that Maudlin wasn’t fired.
The claim alleges she was let go in September 2012 after divulging that she was pregnant. The ACLU said the organization may have had a pattern of “hostile treatment toward other women who became pregnant while working at the organization,” according to the news release.
ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman said firing a woman for becoming pregnant is illegal.
According to Maudlin’s claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, both married and unmarried women who became pregnant while working for Inside Out faced hostile treatment.
Stout said Maudlin quit her job on “good terms” and that there was never a discussion about firing her. He said the organization does have policies of conduct based on biblical principles, including prohibiting “sexual relations outside the covenant of marriage.”
“We do have standards concerning lifestyle and conduct, but we do not discriminate against people for being pregnant,” Stout said. “We have lots of married people who get pregnant all the time.”
Hardiman said that Maudlin was fired after disclosing her pregnancy and that the organization did not have written policies that were fairly applied because only women can become pregnant.
“If they in fact had a policy that was legitimately based on some religious belief, I don’t think we would be having this conversation,” he said. “However, the policy was not based on religious beliefs, it was simply an excuse for discrimination.”
The EEOC will assign an investigator who will determine if there is evidence supporting the complaint. If there isn’t, a right to sue will be issued, giving Maudlin the right to file a lawsuit. If there is evidence, the EEOC will try to mediate the claim and will issue a right to sue if mediation is unsuccessful.
By Megan Gildow Anthony - Springfield News-Sun, Ohio (MCT)
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