The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit alleging that an Ohio organization fired an unmarried woman after she became pregnant.
The complaint argues that Jennifer Maudlin was fired in September 2012 after she informed her employer Inside Out Inc., that she was pregnant, according to the Springfield News-Sun.
The complaint says the organization has a history of discriminating against unmarried women who become pregnant. The ACLU is seeking more than $500,000 in damages, as well as attorney fees, and asks that Inside Out be required to create a written policy to prevent further discrimination of pregnant employees.
The president of Inside Out said Maudlin was not fired and said the organization does not discriminate against its employees. Inside Out is a Christian outreach organization that provides assistance and programs for at-risk teens and families.
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“Basically, her allegations are false,” William Stout said. “She wasn’t fired from Inside Out. She quit.”
The ACLU clearly disagrees.
“What happened to Jennifer amounts to discrimination based on pregnancy status and gender,” states the ACLU on a blog page. “Why? Because Inside Out learned about its workers’ sexual lives by looking at its women workers’ bellies. In fact, Jennifer and other women workers who became pregnant had to hide their bellies for as long as possible because they were terrified of being found out and fired. Unmarried men who had sex, and even those who became fathers, had nothing to fear, because — of course — their bellies wouldn’t give them away. In Jennifer’s workplace, pregnancy became a ‘scarlet letter,’ marking unmarried employees for termination.”
Maudlin had worked as a cook at Inside Out between 2008 and 2012, according to the complaint. In August last year, she informed her supervisor she was pregnant and was told she should not work that week, the complaint shows. When Maudlin later called to see when she could report to work again, the complaint alleges she was told she could not continue working there.
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The president of Inside Out noted he’ll defend his organization in court.
“In her case she simply wasn’t terminated,” Stout said. “I think she’s trying to cash in.”