Former Nasty Gal employee Aimee Concepcion has filed suit against the women’s clothing company. Filed in March, the suit alleges the company illegally fired four pregnant employees, including Concepcion, and one man who intended to take paternity leave.
There does seem to be a pattern of behavior, or at least the appearance of impropriety. Aimee Concepcion, for instance, had stellar performance reviews prior to her dismissal. She launched then-new Home Goods department at Nasty Gal in December 2013, and her supervisor Camilla Whitman reported that she was a “model of professional behavior.” Concepcion said she was taken aback by Whitman’s less than happy response when she relayed that she was pregnant a few months later in February 2014.
According to California’s Pregnancy Discrimination Leave Law, employers who provide health insurance are required to offer employees four months of pregnancy disability leave, regardless of how long they’ve been employed with a company, or how many total hours they’ve worked. Concepcion alleges she was told she wouldn’t get near that amount of time off.
Then there’s the fact that the company initially said it was hiring a temporary replacement for Concepcion, but a few months later, the company was allegedly reassessing its budgets, and she was terminated.
Then the company tried to force her to sign a severance agreement on condition that she not sue. She alleges she was also promised health insurance, but that too was later made conditional upon her signing the agreement. Concepcion said the company didn’t provide her with COBRA insurance, and when she gave birth to her daughter, she was uninsured.
If found at fault, it’s not likely to do the organizations brand any favors, particularly since the company positions itself in the marketplace with phrases like “fashion forward” and “free thinking.”
We’ll see if the judge agrees.