Suit: Pregnant Woman Fired Over Bathroom Breaks

Dawn Steckmann says she was accused of 'stealing from company'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 8:15 AM CST
Suit: Pregnant Woman Fired Over Bathroom Breaks
Dawn Steckmann, not pictured, says her bladder issues were so severe she would not have had time to clock out and make it to the bathroom.   (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

When Dawn Steckmann, an employee at a cellphone chip manufacturer in Beaverton, Ore., told her supervisor she was pregnant in 2011, she says he told her not to worry about clocking out during her more-frequent bathroom breaks. But when she became pregnant again in 2013, a bladder issue that arose during her first pregnancy had her going even more frequently and urgently—so much so that stopping to clock out would have caused her to have an accident. That's what she states in her gender and discrimination lawsuit against Maxim Integrated Products, which fired her after a decade of work over the breaks, reports People.

The Oregonian reports that in June 2013, Steckmann's supervisor and the HR manager called her into a meeting, chided her for not clocking out, and fired her. She claims the HR manager said that she could have been watching movies during her frequent breaks, and that her supervisor equated her bathroom behavior to stealing because "not clocking out to use the restroom is stealing from the company." The paper notes that Steckmann's managers are male and that she had gone to the CEO with complaints about gender bias against her supervisor in April 2013. Steckmann is seeking $406,000 in lost wages and damages, and she wants her job back, too: She worked as a fabrication technician making $18.76 an hour. (One formerly pregnant UPS worker's case appears to be dividing the US Supreme Court.)

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