Former Employee Alleges Pregnancy Discrimination Against Sanderson Farms

On Tuesday, an employee filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Texas against Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division) for pregnancy discrimination after she allegedly suffered two miscarriages after having to work long hours at a labor-intensive job.

The plaintiff said she worked in second processing to cut shoulders. She worked second shift from 4:30 PM to 1:30 AM. She requested accommodations after she found out she was pregnant on March 5, 2020 as directed by her doctor, but was never moved from her position. On August 20, 2020, she suffered a miscarriage and took three days off from work and submitted a full duty release in accordance with protocols.

Around September 25, the plaintiff discovered that she was pregnant again, and shortly thereafter requested to be moved since she had a high-risk pregnancy. She allegedly pleaded with the superintendent, human resources, and the plant manager but her request was refused. According to the complaint, she was told “if you cannot perform everything, you cannot work.”

The complaint said that the plaintiff suffered a second miscarriage on October 16, and said she needed to have restricted duty as she needed to undergo a surgical procedure. She was told that her doctor’s note was “not specific enough,” and was questioned about whether the procedure “was actually a surgery.” She was promptly put on a one week suspension for “attendance issues.” On November 3, 2020, the plaintiff supposedly presented the full duty release forms to human resources but was terminated for “missing too much time from work.”

The plaintiff claimed that she was “intentionally” discriminated against for being pregnant and that the defendants’ actions were willful. Due to her high-risk pregnancy, she was legally a “qualified individual with a disability” and can sue for a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as she was deprived of equal employment opportunities.

The plaintiff is seeking actual damages in the form of lost wages and benefits, punitive damages for the maximum amount allowed by law, an order for the defendants to redress their violations, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Hommel Law Firm.