Like many women, Reyna García had to work during her pregnancy. She submitted 3 doctor’s notes explaining her need to have a lighter work load due to her high risk pregnancy; all three of them were ignored. Then, in November, after experiencing pain, her request to leave work was denied. According to the complaint:
“García, a general merchandise manager at the Atascadero store, asked to leave work while in pain one day last November. But her request was turned down, and she continued heavy lifting at the store. She went into labor that night, rushed to the hospital and found out that her baby was losing fluid and sustaining brain damage, she says.
García gave birth two days later to a girl named Jade, but the baby only lived for a few minutes. According to the suit, ‘Baby Jade’s death over those several minutes was the most painful thing Ms. García had ever experienced.’”
Apparently management at Albertson’s, the grocery store where García worked, did not make attempts to accommodate her pregnancy by moving her to a different department that didn’t require the heavy lifting that she was required to do even after experiencing pain. This is against California law that states that employers must work in good faith to find reasonable accommodation for a pregnant worker.
Worker’s rights violations like these disproportionately affect low income women who cannot afford to take time off work in order to maintain health insurance benefits, take care of families, cover living expenses etc.. As we see here, the results can be fatal.