Dentist’s Remarks To Pregnant Employee Propel Her Case Forward
In Sims v. America’s Family Dental, LLP, Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was denied by a federal district court.
Plaintiff, a registered dental assistant, alleged that she was demoted and subsequently terminated due to her pregnancy. Defendant’s motion was denied, in part, because Plaintiff alleged that the owner made repeated offensive statements to her and other staff related to her pregnancy including constantly telling her that she would be fired because she is pregnant and informing the staff that he would fire the next woman who announces she is pregnant. These comments – if believed by a jury – could amount to direct evidence that Plaintiff’s pregnancy was a factor in her termination. The Court distinguished these comments from mere “stray remarks” because they were clearly related to Plaintiff’s pregnancy, were made by the owner who has the authority to fire Plaintiff, and specifically reference her termination – the challenged adverse employment action. To avoid risk, training managers to prevent such remarks is critical.