Robbie Hargett Oct. 29, 2015, 1:21pm


A Grayson County secretary is suing her former employer, alleging discrimination in the workplace.

Lisa Michelle Ritchie filed a lawsuit June 29 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Cole Services, alleging unlawful employment practices and violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

According to complaint, Ritchie worked for Cole Services from Jan. 9, 2012, until she was discharged Sept. 18, 2014, at which time she was the secretary at the company's Denison office.

On Dec. 25, 2013, Ritchie informed her supervisor, Pam Molina, of her pregnancy, the suit says, but Molina told her not to tell other office personnel about the pregnancy because they had stated they would not hire anyone of child-bearing age.

Molina said the only reason she hired Ritchie was because she had heard Ritchie's husband say several times that he did not want children, the suit alleges. The lawsuit states Molina harassed Ritchie on numerous occasions, including complaining Molina might have to work during her vacation because of Ritchie's maternity leave. The suit says Molina threatened other employees they would not get their paychecks because of the plaintiff's pregnancy.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Molina informed Ritchie she was being let go because her maternity leave fell during the company's fiscal year-end, putting the office in a bind and causing Molina to do "all of the work," the lawsuit states.

The suit alleges the defendant's actions constitute gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Ritchie seeks actual damages including back and front pay, liquidated and punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs. She is represented by attorney Ronald R. Huff of Sherman.

Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-00432-RC-DDB.

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