Former VP says Santander Financial institution ousted her over back-to-back pregnancies

Diving letter:

  • A former vice president of Santander Bank has sued the banking giant, alleging that her salary was cut and her employment relationship terminated after she asked for teleworking to accommodate medical complications she developed during her pregnancy (McKenna v Santander Investment Securities, Inc ., et al 21-cv-00941 (SDNY, February 3, 2021).
  • The Vice President said in her complaint that Santander had reasons to let her go – – a force reduction – – was the excuse to fire her because of the second high-risk pregnancy she experienced while working for the company.
  • She alleged interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and violation of the laws of New York State and the City of New York in her trial. Santander did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

Dive Insight:

According to 2014 estimates by the National Partnership for Women & Families, more than a quarter of a million American women are denied application for maternity accommodation each year.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends that managers treat pregnant workers’ placement requests as placement requests under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “unless it is clear that there is no impairment.” The ADA entitles employees with disabilities to reasonable accommodation unless there is excessive hardship on the part of the employer.

A typical pregnancy is not considered a disability under the ADA, but pregnant workers can suffer from a pregnancy that may require reasonable accommodation. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not specifically require employers to accept pregnant workers, but it does require employers to treat pregnant people or people with a similar illness in the same way as non-pregnant applicants or workers whose skills or inability to work are similar. Pregnancy-related impairments and disorders, such as back pain, pregnancy-related high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes, can be disabilities under the ADA EEOC says. If an employee is temporarily unable to carry out her work due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her like any other temporarily disabled employee and grant the pregnant employee light tasks, changed work tasks, alternative tasks, disability leave or paid leave. according to the EEOC.

The US House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act by 329-73 votes on September 17, but no action was taken in the US Senate. The proposed legislation would require private sector employers, as well as some public sector employers, to provide reasonable accommodation for applicants and workers with known restrictions on pregnancy, childbirth or related illnesses, unless such accommodation would cause undue hardship on the employer impose.

While the bill in Congress waned, some states went ahead on the issue. For example, Oregon enacted a maternity leave law that went into effect January 1, 2020. The law requires insured employers to make reasonable accommodation for workers and applicants who have constraints related to pregnancy, unless doing so impose undue hardship on the employer.

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