A Denton County woman is suing over claims she was fired due to her pregnancy.
Genna Herson filed a lawsuit Nov. 18 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas against ASD Specialty Healthcare Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group, citing pregnancy discrimination.
According to the complaint, Herson began working for the defendant, which distributes pharmaceutical products to healthcare providers and manufacturers, as a retail specialty sales representative on Sept. 21, 2009. Herson says she received favorable reviews and even won sales representative of the year in 2011, but Bernadette Rospigliossi became her direct supervisor in February 2012 and immediately began targeting Herson.
The complaint states Rospigliossi wrote Herson up for having fewer sales calls than other members of the team even though there was no policy requiring a specific number of calls and Herson had more sales than others, and called her a “whistleblower” for reporting incidents to human resources, including an anti-Semitic remark that Herson, who is Jewish, found offensive. Herson says she complained of Rospigliossi’s harassing behavior to Neil Herson (no relation), president of ASD Healthcare, and requested to be moved into a different sales role, but her request was ignored.
The lawsuit states in 2012, Genna Herson worked on the flu accounts, selling flu vaccines to various healthcare providers and pharmacies, for a commission, but after 12 months and selling more than 300,000 doses of flu vaccines, Herson says in December 2012 Rospigliossi distributed the majority of Herson’s commissions to other team members who had not worked on the flu accounts.
According to the lawsuit, when Herson asked Rospigliossi for the remainder of her commission she was ignored. Herson says she was offered a position with BluPax Pharmaceuticals in March 2013, but when she informed Neil Herson she intended to take it, he asked her to reject it and assured her he would move her to a comparable sales role away from Rospigliossi's supervision. The lawsuit states in June 2013, Herson informed Rospigliossi that she was pregnant, and Rospigliossi responded negatively.
According to the lawsuit, Herson says vice president of national accounts Michael Clarke asked her to apply for a job on his team, which would involve travel and for which Clarke said Herson was the best candidate, but after announcing her pregnancy, she was told she was no longer the best candidate and the position was instead given to a less-qualified woman. Herson says when she expressed interest joining another sales manager's team she was advised not to expect any promotions until after the baby was born. The complaint states Herson reported those discriminatory statements to the HR manager but no action was taken.
Herson says she originally used a PTO to attend doctor's appointments related to her pregnancy but in late August 2013, Rospigliossi instructed her to work through her lunches to compensate for time she would miss for doctor appointments rather than using PTO, despite having approximately three days of PTO left. Herson says on Oct. 1, 2013, she was terminated for alleged time clock violations with respect to her lunch hour, and the defendants interfered with her potential employment opportunities by informing business contacts that she was terminated for time clock fraud.
The defendants are accused of pregnancy discrimination, tortious interference - potential employment, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
Herson seeks compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages, interest and attorney fees. She is represented by attorneys Keith A. Clouse, Emily M. Stout and Camille A. Avant of Clouse Dunn in Dallas.
Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-00743