America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Inc. was recently involved in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Inc. is under fire in a pregnancy discrimination case. According to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, the retailer “discriminated against a former employee because of her pregnancy and did not offer her a suitable place to express breast milk”.
Pregnant woman; Image courtesy of William Stitt via Unsplash, https://unsplash.com
Commenting on the lawsuit, Grewal said:
“New Jersey is committed to protecting equal rights for pregnant and breastfeeding workers. New Jersey law goes further than federal law when it comes to protecting pregnant and breastfeeding workers, and employers need to make sure they know which state law opposes federal law. requires. “
At the moment, the state has released a probable cause statement, meaning that “a preliminary investigation into a civil rights complaint has shown that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that a state anti-discrimination law has been violated.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jalaia Hill, the former employee who worked at an America’s Best store in Burlington, New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges that the company discriminated against her when she returned from maternity leave and reduced her working hours from full-time to part-time. Unfortunately, stepping down to part-time status meant Hill was no longer eligible for employer-provided health insurance.
In addition, the lawsuit argues that the company “did not adequately honor its request for a place to express breast milk”. According to Hill, she was “forced to use an often accessible utility room that had no lock on the door and was filled with boxes of supplies.” The lawsuit further alleges that while she was “expressing milk, she was forced to lean against the unlocked door for privacy and was interrupted regularly by workers coming in for supplies.” To make matters worse, “she was often told by her manager to hurry and get ready with customers waiting.”
Rachel Wainer Apter, New Jersey director of civil rights, said:
“Employers cannot punish employees for having children or taking parental leave and being forced to express breast milk in a room without a lock on the door while coworkers walk in and out while being reprimanded to rush and finish become clear violation of the LAD. “
Hill started working for the company as a full-time sales representative back in May 2018, earning an hourly wage plus sales commissions. She worked more than 30 hours a week, so she was considered a full-time employee and received “health care benefits for herself and her children”. She went on maternity leave on November 19, 2018 and returned on March 4, 2019.
Hill said in February 2019, a few days before returning to work, “She had a phone call with her manager in which he told her that only part-time hours were available because another employee took over her hours while she was on vacation. “Unfortunately, she was never brought back to full-time, even after telling the company’s district manager of her situation, and despite the same district manager’s alleged promise to set up additional hours for Hill in the Audubon business in order to qualify Hill as a full-time employee” the suit argues.
America’s Best is a nationwide company specializing in eye exams, contact lenses, and glasses. The company has 700 stores nationwide, including 15 in New Jersey.
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