National Debt Relief Employee Sues Over Pregnency

I stunned there is yet another lawsuit filed by National Debt Relief employees. This marks another in a series of suits filed over employment issues.

This time the suit is filed by Lexus Muhammad against National Debt Relief, Olive Isidore, and Joanne Murry.

The suit alleges “This action is brought to remedy (i) Defendants’ unlawful discrimination, harassment and disparate treatment based on Plaintiff’s pregnancy and disability, (ii) Defendants’ failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to Plaintiff, and (iii) retaliation for complaining about the discriminatory actions and disparate treatment she was subjected to, all in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”

The complaint states “Plaintiff Muhammad, was a pregnant woman employed
by NDR and a resident of Bronx County, New York.” It identifies Isidore as the Plaintiff’s supervisor and Murry as the Director of the Human
Resources Department.

The complaint goes on to state:

23. On or about February 23, 2015, Plaintiff started her employment with NDR as a full-time Administrative Assistant.

24. Before starting her employment with NDR, Plaintiff interviewed with Defendant Isidore, Joanne Murry, Director of Human Resources, and Elena, the front desk receptionist.

25. However, at the time of the interview and for the first few weeks after starting her employment with NDR, Plaintiff was not pregnant.

26. Plaintiff’s duties and responsibilities included, but were not limited to, scanning, copying and faxing clients’ documents, mailing, sending checks, returning client documents and other clerical duties.

27. Plaintiff’s administrative team consisted of five members, including Plaintiff and Defendant Isidore.

28. In that administrative team, there were four Administrative Assistants, which included Plaintiff.

29. Plaintiff successfully completed her 90-day probation on May 23, 2015.

30. In fact, Plaintiff received two performance evaluations during her time with NDR, both of which were satisfactory.

31. Plaintiff performed her duties and responsibilities with exceptional care and diligence as an Administrative Assistant.

32. As part of her responsibilities, Plaintiff also met with her supervisor, Isidore, once a month every month during her employment with NDR.

33. In or around the end of March 2015, shortly after starting her employment with Defendants, Plaintiff became pregnant.

34. Subsequently, during the monthly meeting in the first week of May 2015, because Plaintiff was concerned about lifting the mail bins, she notified Defendant Isidore that she was approximately 6 weeks pregnant at that time.

35. In response, Defendant Isidore was shocked and stated, “what the fuck, are you serious?”

36. Since the moment Defendant Isidore became aware of Plaintiff’s pregnancy her attitude towards Plaintiff adversely changed, and she even started addressing Plaintiff with more aggression, frustration and obvious dislike.

37. For example, on or about June 17, 2015, when Plaintiff requested half a day off for a doctor’s appointment due to her pregnancy, Defendant Isidore declined her reasonable request, despite Plaintiff successfully completing her probation.

38. In fact, Defendants did not grant Plaintiff half days off for doctors’ visits, while allowing other non-pregnant employees, who were similarly situated and who also reported to Isidore, to take half days off.

39. For example, Isidore granted requests for time off from Andrea Morris, an Administrative Assistant, who also reported to Isidore and who was not pregnant.

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40. Other employees from other departments and other team members, like Tabatha and Teshean Massiah, who were not pregnant, were allowed to take half days off.

41. Due to the unfair and discriminatory treatment, Plaintiff was compelled to use her sick and personal days in order to go to her doctor’s appointments.

42. On or about July 15, 2015, Defendant Isidore called a meeting with Plaintiff at the end of the work day, whereby Isidore informed Plaintiff that she had only five (5) days left to take off from work, which included sick days, vacation days, personal holidays and paid days off.

43. Plaintiff thus complained to Isidore stating that she was compelled to use all of her available days since Defendants prohibited her from taking half days off for doctors’ appointments, while allowing other non-pregnant employees to take half days off.

44. During that same meeting on July 15, 2015, Plaintiff informed Defendant Isidore that she had upcoming doctors’ appointments related to her pregnancy.

45. Defendant Isidore replied that should Plaintiff take time off for her pregnancy beyond the five (5) days, she will be terminated.

46. On July 21, 2015, Plaintiff sent Defendants Isidore and Murry an email with a letter from Doctor Steven Hockstein, MD, informing Defendants that Plaintiff “is an obstetrical patient under [his] care with an expected date of delivery of December 27, 2015.”

47. In or about August 2015, Plaintiff asked to meet with Murry, Director of the Human Resources Department, and Carla Perez (“Perez”), from Human Resources, to complain about the discriminatory actions she was subjected to by Isidore and to discuss her ability to take time off for her upcoming doctors’ appointments once her five (5) days were exhausted.

48. The meeting with Murry and Perez took place on August 3, 2015 in the morning.

49. During the meeting, Plaintiff complained to Murry and Perez that she needed to take time off beyond the five (5) days she had left in order to see her doctors and to receive the proper care for her pregnancy.

50. Murry informed Plaintiff that she did not qualify for family medical leave, but would qualify for short-term disability.

51. However, the day that Plaintiff approached Murry to apply for short term disability, Murry terminated Plaintiff on that same day.

52. It was also reiterated to Plaintiff during the August 3, 2015 meeting that she had only five (5) days left to use for time off and could not take time off beyond those days despite her pregnancy.

53. Murry further stated to Plaintiff that she would be entitled to take half a day off, only during 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., starting on August 24, 2015.

54. However, Murry terminated Plaintiff on September 4, 2015, without giving Plaintiff the proper opportunity to benefit from her false promise to accommodate.

55. Plaintiff was never provided with timely or appropriate accommodation to see her doctors with regard to her pregnancy or her disability.

56. On August 25, 2015, Plaintiff exhausted all of her days off since Defendants failed and refused to reasonably accommodate her due to her pregnancy.

57. On August 31, 2015, while still employed by Defendants, Plaintiff met with a Psychotherapist from the Metropolitan Hospital Center regarding the anxiety and emotional distress she was, and still is, suffering from because of the discrimination, harassment and hostility that she was subjected to due to her pregnancy and her requests for reasonable accommodations to see her doctors.

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58. On or about September 1, 2015, Plaintiff gave a copy of her Psychotherapist letter to Defendant Isidore and sent a copy by email to the Human Resources Department.

59. After sending a copy of her Psychotherapist letter requesting that Defendants allow Plaintiff to take a medical leave of absence because of the anxiety she was suffering from, Perez informed Plaintiff that if she were to take any time off, she would be subject to termination.

60. On September 4, 2015, Plaintiff met with Murry, Perez and Isidore in order to discuss her Psychotherapist letter and to apply for a short-term disability.

61. However, before even discussing Plaintiff’s Psychotherapist letter and short-term disability, Murry stated, “I’m surprised you’re even here;” “you are taking a lot of time off for the appointments;” and “we need someone more flexible.”

62. Defendant Murry completely disregarded Plaintiff’s Psychotherapist letter and instead terminated her at that moment.

63. Murry then informed Plaintiff that she would be entitled to COBRA. However, to date, Plaintiff has not received any COBRA package.

64. Plaintiff was continuously subjected to harassment and discrimination due to her pregnancy and disability (anxiety) causing her to suffer from severe emotional distress.

65. Despite Plaintiff’s complaints and requests for such discriminatory and harassing conduct to stop, Defendants refused to stop their discrimination and harassment, and failed and/or refused to take any action to stop or cure such actions.

66. In addition, despite her repeated requests for reasonable accommodations, Defendants failed to accommodate Plaintiff.

67. Due to the stress and anxiety caused by Defendants’ discriminatory, harassing and retaliatory actions, Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer from severe emotional distress.

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