State employee files pregnancy discrimination lawsuit

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 6, 2012, 10:54am


An administrative assistant for the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services has filed a discrimination lawsuit that claims she was terminated after she announced she was again pregnant six months after returning from maternity leave.

Sophia Ashley filed suit against Texas Department of Family & Protective Services on May 31 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Ashley was hired by the TDFPS as an administrative assistant beginning in February 2009.

In January 2010, Ashley informed her immediate supervisor that she was pregnant. Per company policy, Ashley took extended paid sick leave for her maternity leave. Ashley returned from her maternity leave in mid-October 2010.

According to the lawsuit, Ashley claims she announced she was pregnant again in a meeting in April 2011. On the same day, an incident occurred regarding Ashley's computer and another co-worker.

Ashley's work was lost and she was accused of creating a "hostile work environment," the suit states. She was placed on a Second Level Reminder and Ashley agreed to take the remainder of the day off work.

Approximately 20 minutes after the incident, Ashley called the office and was told that the supervisor had accepted her resignation, the suit claims. Ashley states that she never resigned and would not have resigned given her medical situation.

She claims she was subjected to harassment and terminated based on her race and pregnancy. She also claims she was terminated in retaliation for having complained about the harassment based on her race and pregnancy.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, attorney fees, interest and court costs.

Ashley is represented by Linda D. King of Goranson King in Houston.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:12-cv-00271

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