Walmart fired pregnant worker Candis Riggins after tweaking its policies in March to be more accommodating to pregnant women, Jezebel reported.
Under Walmart's new policy, pregnant women "may be eligible for reasonable accommodation" if a "temporary disability caused by pregnancy" causes them to "need assistance to apply for a new job, or to perform the essential functions of a job." But reproductive health advocates warned that regulations' language was vague and some expecting mothers could still be denied accomidation.
Riggins started working at the Laurel, Maryland store in June of 2013 and got pregnant around September. She told ThinkProgress that she worked in maintenance, and being around noxious chemicals made her feel sick, landing her in the hospital on multiple occasions. As her pregnancy progressed, lifting a mop and bucket around the store became impossible.
Riggins asked her manager to place her temporarily as a cashier as an accommodation until she gave birth. After changing her "career preference" from maintenance to cashier as she was instructed to do, Riggins still was not moved to a cashier position, and told ThinkProgress that new cashiers were being hired instead.
Riggins tried to go to work as much as she could out of fear of losing her job, but had to call out a few times. In May she was let go, and told it was because of her absences, even though she alleges that no one ever told her it was a problem when she called out.
On July 31, A Better Balance, the National Women's Law Center and Mehri & Skalet, PLLC sent a letter to Walmart stating that the policy was not in line with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It also urged the company to rehire Riggins, repay her for lost wages and change its policies to ensure fair treatment for pregnant women.