Carol Ostrow Apr. 2, 2015, 11:45am


An Austin County woman has sued a Fayette County business, alleging disability discrimination.

Chelsea Swearingen filed a lawsuit March 27 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Gillar Home Health Care, alleging violation of the Civil Rights Act and Texas Labor Code in the loss of her job.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 3, 2013, Swearingen was hired by Gillar in Schulenberg as a field nurse and she became pregnant soon after. Because she had not worked for the company at least one year, she would not have qualified for FMLA leave until approximately one month after her baby was born in August 2014, the suit states.

According to the suit, Swearingen’s supervisor declined to grant her any leave and said that the company owner regarded pregnant employees as an inconvenience. When the plaintiff underwent a cardiac-related pregnancy complication in late April 2014, the suit states, Gillar Home Health Care would not allow her to return to work until she obtained clearance from a cardiologist. While awaiting an appointment, the plaintiff was fired May 15, 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The suit states Gillar told Swearingen she would not be rehired because of the possibility of further complications and missed work time. The plaintiff was replaced by a non-pregnant, non-disabled employee and was forced to pay for her own health insurance through COBRA, the suit says.

Swearingen alleges termination due to her gender, her pregnancy and/or disability related to the pregnancy.

She seeks: back pay and benefits; front pay or reinstatement; compensatory and punitive damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney fees; expenses and costs. She is represented by attorney David Holmes of Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:15-cv-00798

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