Vet assistant says animal hospital fired her due to pregnancy

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 9, 2012, 3:19pm

HOUSTON - Claiming she lost her job as a veterinary assistant at Shady Brook Animal Hospital because she was pregnant, Montgomery County resident Amie Reynolds has filed a lawsuit.

Recent court documents filed July 27 in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division explain that Reynolds was fired and then "replaced by someone outside the protected class, (and) treated less favorably than other employees who were not pregnant."

The suit shows the plaintiff's obstetrician ordered her not to handle or restrain large animals and not to handle cat litter, however, the respondent "informed Reynolds in front of the entire Shady Brook staff, that if she could not handle the animals then she did not have a job."

Reynolds was later placed on leave without pay and ordered to obtain a letter from her obstetrician detailing her restrictions and what parts of her job she was and was not able to perform.

According to the original petition, the plaintiff did not know the company was not subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

She further recalls how her superiors did not permit her to return to work until they received the documentation they requested, adding the defendant did receive said letter but it apparently denied doing so.

The complainant eventually went back to duty, however, the respondent informed her that "they did not have to abide by her doctor's restrictions because if they did it for her then they would have to do it for anyone else who became pregnant," the suit says.

Reynolds was allegedly made to clean all areas of the hospital and restrain large dogs, which went against her doctor's restrictions.

Shady Brook then made the plaintiff choose between working part-time with no health insurance, being terminated due to slow business and placement on short-term disability which allowed her to keep her health insurance with Reynolds choosing the third option.

The suit argues the respondent held a baby shower for Reynolds, but was on the verge of letting her go without her knowledge.

It terminated her on grounds she used up all of her FMLA time though the original petition insists "it was never discussed with her at any point in time, except as justification for demanding that she be placed on leave while waiting for verification from her physician."

Consequently, Reynolds seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Jo Miller with the Law Office of Jo Miller PLLC in Conroe is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2258

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