A cleaning service fired a woman because she was pregnant

PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — A Rhode Island woman hired to work for a house cleaning service was fired days later after management found out she was pregnant, the woman said in a discrimination complaint filed on Monday.

The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island on behalf of Bristol resident Julia Schultz alleges that the owners of Merry Maids of Rhode Island violated the state’s civil rights law.

Schultz applied for the housekeeper job in late April 2021 when she was about 16 weeks pregnant, according to the lawsuit.

She participated in an orientation program for new hires in early May 2021, during which the company co-owner asked her if she was pregnant, according to the suit. When she confirmed she was, the co-owner said she couldn’t offer her the job due to her “physical demands” and said she “would have to be home to take care of “of the baby. She then suggested that Schultz reapply after the baby was born.

“When I left the building that day, I was so ashamed, like I was doing something wrong trying to work while pregnant,” Schultz said.

She added: “Especially with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is even more important now to fight for our rights, to address the gender wealth gap and to empower women, and not trying to maintain them on the basis of old and obsolete traditions.

A woman who answered the phone to Merry Maids said she was unaware of the trial and had no comment.

The lawsuit seeks damages for Schultz, reinstatement and an injunction restraining the company from engaging in similar acts.

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