A settlement agreement was recently announced between AC Transit and current and former pregnant workers.
AC Transit recently agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought by drivers who alleged the agency violated state law by failing to house female bus drivers when they were pregnant and unable to work. As part of the settlement, the agency made changes to its policies to better accommodate pregnant buses Drivers in the future.
Pregnant woman; Image courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photography via Unsplash, https://unsplash.com
Under what conditions should the pregnant drivers work? Well, according to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were allegedly “exposed to carbon monoxide fumes, had to drive far during pregnancy and refused to provide adequate lactation accommodation after giving birth.” “Without modified work arrangements, the women also said they were forced to take unpaid leave.”
The $ 340,000 settlement was approved by the Alameda County Supreme Court earlier this week. Each of the 30 class members will receive USD 5,410 from the benchmark funds. In addition, the settlement requires the agency to implement policy changes that “include consideration of changed tasks for employees temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related illnesses”. In addition, AC Transit Managers must “train accommodation and distribute a” Mommy Guide “to support pregnant and breastfeeding women.”
Commenting on the settlement agreement, Felicia Medina, a lawyer at Medina Orthwein LLC, said:
“These changes would have happened a long time ago if men had been lactating … We are very proud of our results … This is a very important precedent for the state of California.”
AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles also intervened, saying, “Despite litigation, AC Transit has always been committed to its employees.”
Lyles added that the mandatory policy changes “provide pregnant and nursing mothers with an option, a supportive environment for women working for AC Transit and potential for those seeking employment as we are now a fairly inclusive employer.”
The lawsuit was originally filed after four current and former bus drivers filed complaints and eventually a class action lawsuit over poor working conditions for pregnant workers. Former drivers included “Jada Edward, Javonne Knight, Christy Pullum and Nikki McNaulty”. According to McNaulty, “she was trying to get a desk job so she wouldn’t have to breathe in bus fumes while she was five months pregnant and took unpaid leave three months before her scheduled maternity leave if it wasn’t.” She added that she was “forced to take unpaid leave of absence during her three pregnancies.”
Edward claimed it had become harder and harder to work as her pregnancy progressed through the third trimester. Despite her discomfort, she was “not given accommodation despite medical advice.” Instead, she had to go on disability leave a month earlier than planned. Knight also had to take unpaid leave prior to her maternity leave if she was not given shelter. She also had a doctor’s letter.
Pullum, another former driver, was “forced to take two pregnancies on vacation because the agency couldn’t accommodate them even with a doctor’s letter,” the lawsuit said. After she was born, she couldn’t find a shift that matched her breastfeeding schedule. As a result, she had to “meet her husband and newborn son during breaks to breastfeed him in a car.”
AC Transit settles lawsuits for discrimination during pregnancy
Four women now claim to have become pregnant at AC Transit