Two Women Sue after Being Fired for Being Pregnant

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Two women in Georgia plan to sue their employer over claims they were fired for being pregnant.

ABC News reports one of the women claimed her boss told her she could keep her job if she "eliminated the situation that's causing your absence."

Que'ana Morris secretly recorded a conversation she said she had with the director of the Emergency Communications Center, during which she asked for her job back after being fired.

In the recording obtained by ABC News, a person identified as department director Angela Barrett repeatedly refers to Que'ana Morris' "situation" as the reason for her firing.

"I understand you have a situation. All I'm doing is giving you time to rectify your situation, and then you can come back when you can come to work," Barrett tells Morris on the tape.

Morris said in the two months before she was fired, she missed 16 days of work on doctor's orders over complications with her pregnancy. She said she had permission to miss those days for medical reasons, and that it only became a problem after she was already fired.

"I don't have that option to turn around and rehire you when you haven't eliminated the situation that's causing your absence," Barrett said in the recording. "According to you, you're absent because of the pregnancy. So, how am I supposed to be able to make a decision when the condition still exists?"

Barrett never specifies what she meant by "rectify," but Morris told ABC affiliate WSB-TV it was clear to her that the "situation" was her pregnancy and that she couldn't continue working as long as she was still pregnant.

"I was devastated because all of my reviews were satisfactory. Nothing stated I was a bad employee," Morris said.

Morris filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the ground that she was discriminated against because of her gender, due to her pregnancy. The EEOC investigation found in her favor and concluded she had the right to sue her former employer.

Morris and Leeneeka Bell, who said she was also fired by the Emergency Communications Center after her pregnancy left her on bed rest, announced their plans to file a lawsuit after the EEOC finding.

Their attorney, Lisa Millican, said this is a clear-cut case of discrimination.

"They're essentially forcing their employees to choose between keeping their jobs or having a child," Millican told ABC News.

"When a company has an attitude like this, it basically means a woman can't work. So if pregnancy causes you to lose your job, that sets us back 50 years."
 
Fulton County issued a statement saying they can't confirm the authenticity of the tape, and that they can't substantiate the women's claims.

"We stand by our statement that at no time did Fulton County take any prohibited action against the employees in question," the statement said.

Millican said they plan to file one lawsuit on behalf of both women in the next few weeks.

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