Local News

Pregnancy Discrimination Case Will Go to Federal Court

Posted October 1, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Usually, cases of discrimination in the workplace involve race or gender, but an Orange County woman claims she was fired because she was pregnant.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the case all the way to U.S. Federal District Court.

It started in July of 1996, when then-17-year-old Melissa Blalock applied for work at a Subway sandwich shop in Hillsborough. She was seven months pregnant at the time. Blalock says when she reported to work, the owner fired her because of her condition.

In a letter from the attorney representing the Subway franchise, the company admits Blalock was asked to leave.

The memo states:

"Based upon the requirements of the job, including lifting large packages of supplies, sweeping and mopping and spending long hours standing, the owner believed that [Blalock's] employment could create health problems for her and her baby."

The letter also says Blalock could return to work after the birth of her child, but Richard Walz, Director of the EEOC, says this is against the law under Title 7 of the Civil rights Act.

Subway says it did not discriminate against Blalock, but she disagrees.

Blalock says she would hate to see any other women go through what she experienced.