The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

February 21, 2014

MCAR denies pregnancy bias claim

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — A former employee of MCAR Inc. made herself unqualified for her job by becoming pregnant, MCAR said in its answer to her lawsuit.

Cassandra Murray of 20 Chestnut St., Wheatland, sued the agency that serves adults with disabilities on Nov. 1, alleging that it discriminated against her because of her pregnancy, and called her leaving a “constructive discharge” because she had “no viable option other than to cease her employment with them.”

MCAR responded Feb. 12 denying that it discriminated against Murray, asserting that she “quit” her position.

MCAR could not provide an accommodation to Murray because “the ability to lift and carry up to 50 pounds are essential job functions of a substitute residential program worker and, as such, (Murray) was not qualified to work in that position so long as she was under the physician-order work restrictions at issue,” the agency said.

Murray’s doctor said she was allowed to lift no more than 30 pounds because of her pregnancy, she said.

Murray worked for MCAR for eight months in 2012. The agency admitted it removed her from the work schedule because of the lifting restriction.

MCAR denied her allegation that agency officials told her she would have to have her doctor remove the lifting restriction to “resolve the situation.”

MCAR admitted that Murray was told that her pregnancy “did not entitle her to an accommodation as pregnancy is not a disability.”

Murray also charged that MCAR had modified the duty schedules of nonpregnant employees “who were similarly situated to (Murray) with respect to their ability to work.” MCAR denied the statement.

MCAR asked that the complaint be dismissed because she was subject to a contract that requires her claim to be resolved in arbitration.