Yet another infuriating story about a pregnant woman being forced to work in unhealthy conditions has hit the news wire, and unfortunately this one has a tragic ending. Thirty-year-old Reyna Garcia, who works as a merchandise manager at an Albertsons grocery store in California, was repeatedly denied requests for her job duties be restricted during her pregnancy, despite having three doctor's notes explaining that her pregnancy was high-risk. Sadly, Garcia lost her baby when she went into pre-term labor at 20 weeks after being made to work overtime, and she has now filed suit against the grocery chain. 

The day of the incident, Garcia reported that she was in pain and asked to leave work--a courtesy that is often granted to employees with mere stomach and head aches by many employers--but her request was denied.

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As merchandise manager, Garcia's duties typically involved loading and unloading pallets of hundreds of pounds of merchandise; however, California law dictates that employers must make "reasonable accommodation" for pregnant workers. Garcia's request to be moved to the deli counter or customer service were denied, and because she could not afford to lose income and her health insurance, she had no choice but to continue working.

Besides the fact that the law should have protected Garcia, I'm stunned at the sheer lack of human decency demonstrated by her superiors. Garcia had apparently worked at the store since 2007, when the incident occurred in November 2012. You would imagine that there would have been some sort of rapport between a manager-level employee and the higher-ups by that point, but clearly these folks took very little interest in their employees.

Not to suggest that employers should bend over backwards for pregnant woman, but it should go without saying that some accommodation had to be made. Pregnancy is a temporary state, how much harm could it have done to the store to transfer Garcia to another department for a few months? I reckon little. In fact, they actually demoted her, thus lessening her duties, upon her return after the loss of her daughter.

Not that money can bring her sweet little one back or erase the suffering she has endured, but I sincerely hope that Garcia comes out ahead in this lawsuit, even if it just serves as a warning to other employers of pregnant woman.

Image via Thinkstock

Add Comment Was your employer accommodating during your pregnancy?
About the author

Shayne Rodriguez Thompson is a full-time wife, full-time mom, and freelance journalist trying to balance it all and looking forward to exploring the world with her son and husband. In her rare spare moments, she's a pop culture junkie and kitchen devotee who makes a mean cupcake!

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