Former Walgreens employee sues and wins after being told she couldn’t leave during miscarriage


A pregnant Walgreens employee began bleeding at work and asked permission to see her doctor, and was denied. She has since sued, and will be paid $205,000 after winning a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the complaint, the employee, named only as Jane Doe, began working at a Walgreens store in Alexandria, Louisiana, in 2020. The Washington Post reported that she told her supervisors about her pregnancy roughly one month after being hired. She also had diabetes and hypoglycemia, and provided doctor’s notes requesting accommodations, such as being allowed to snack throughout her shift to avoid low blood sugar.

On December 2, 2020, Doe said she noticed spotting while in the bathroom, and told her supervisor she needed to leave. The supervisor refused, saying she needed to wait for the manager to arrive; in the meantime, Doe began calling her doctor. Once the manager arrived, Doe again said she needed to leave, but the manager said she had to stay until a replacement was found… and then allegedly told Doe that she was hired before she was pregnant, that she was no longer a good fit for the company, and asked for too many accommodations.

Doe ultimately showed the manager a text from her doctor instructing her to come in, and that as they would not let her leave, she was quitting. Later that day, she suffered a miscarriage.

READ: What to know about Walgreens’ and CVS’ plans to sell drugs that intentionally kill humans

Walgreens recently began dispensing abortion pills, even going so far as to partner with Danco Laboratories, the manufacturer of the drug, mifepristone. Walgreens has said it will honor requests from employees to opt out of dispensing the life-ending drugs, but the company’s statement noted it would merely “determine what accommodations can be offered while ensuring that patients’ healthcare needs are met.”

As Doe tragically learned, requested accommodations aren’t always honored, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

“Employers must ensure that pregnant workers are afforded equal employment opportunities,” Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, said in an EEOC press release. “Employers must consider an employee’s request for reasonable accommodation, including a request for leave, and grant that request when it is not an undue hardship.”

Elizabeth Owen, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, added, “Miscarriages can be personally devastating. No one should have to choose between getting the pregnancy care they need and losing a job.”

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