Insurance Company Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

September 9, 2005 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing Mount Morris Mutual Insurance Co. of Coloma, WI for firing a file room employee because she was pregnant.

The Associate Press reports that the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division already ruled for former employee Charissa Black Slife, saying she is entitled to back pay and attorney’s fees. The company denies it fired Slife because of her pregnancy.

According to the state’s case, Slife worked in the file room of the firm’s underwriting department, which was in a fireproof vault that was kept two to eight degrees warmer than the outside office, the AP reports. Slife said she started experiencing dizziness and nausea, which she attributed to her pregnancy and the warm environment.

The state determined that, after receiving a note from Slife’s nurse practitioner asking that the employee be allowed to work in a cooler part of the office, company President Howard Fenske decided to lay her off rather than try to find a way to cool her work area or allow her to temporarily trade jobs with the receptionist, according to the AP. The company is appealing the state’s ruling.

The EEOC suit will be heard in US District Court in Wisconsin.