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Sept 29 (Reuters) - Walgreen Co has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegedly refusing to allow a pregnant, diabetic retail worker in Louisiana to take emergency medical leave, forcing her to quit hours before she miscarried, the agency announced on Thursday.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Alexandria, Louisiana federal court claiming a manager in December 2020 told the worker she had asked for "too many accommodations" and could not leave to see her doctor unless she found a replacement.
The EEOC said the worker identified as Jane Doe had asked to leave after she noticed that she was spotting, then quit before having a miscarriage later that day.
A spokesperson for Walgreens declined to comment.
The EEOC accused Walgreens of violating the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to grant Doe a reasonable accommodation related to her pregnancy and disability.
In a 2015 case involving UPS Inc, the U.S. Supreme Court said the PDA requires employers to grant pregnant workers the same accommodations that they give to employees who are injured or disabled.
The EEOC in Wednesday's complaint said Walgreens ordinarily permits employees to leave work if they are having an emergency.
The commission is seeking backpay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Doe.
In a statement, EEOC lawyers said the case highlights that emergency leave can be considered a reasonable accommodation.
“No one should have to choose between losing a pregnancy and losing a job,” said Andrew Kingsley, a senior trial attorney.
The case is EEOC v. Walgreen Co, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, No. 1:22-cv-05357.
For the EEOC: Andrew Kingsley
For Walgreens: Not available
(NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect that Walgreens declined to comment on the lawsuit. A previous version of the article also incorrectly identified Walgreen Co as Walgreens Co.)
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