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Pregnancy Discrimination Case Will Go to Federal Court

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HILLSBOROUGH — Usually, cases of discrimination inthe workplace involve race or gender, but an Orange County woman claimsshe was fired because she was pregnant.

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

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

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

The memo states:

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

The letter also says Blalock could return to work after the birth ofher child, but Richard Walz, Director of the EEOC, says this is againstthe 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 sheexperienced.

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