Politician and Former Aide Fired During Pregnancy Headed to Mediation
Monday, November, 12, 2018
Texas Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar’s former aide filed a complaint against the politician claiming she was fired because of her pregnancy. Pregnancy is considered a protected class and it is against the law for an employer to fire a woman for being pregnant. The two sides will try mediation in hopes of preventing a lengthy court battle over the dispute.
According to a social media post from Katie Small, Cuellar’s former chief of staff, “After serving as staff in the House of Representatives for 13.5 years I had the opportunity to become the acting Chief of Staff for a different Congressman. After finding out and communicating I was pregnant, I was fired.”
Small first submitted a request to the Office of Compliance, which is the organization that handles complaints about harassment and discrimination within the legislative branch of government.
Cuellar’s office was reluctant to address the details of Small’s termination, but did say it was justified. It called the matter confidential and stated the office “values its employees and conducts all personnel matters in compliance with the congressional Accountability Act and applicable House Rules”.
According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, women cannot be fired, turned down for promotion, assigned to lesser duties, or forced to resign because of pregnancy.
Small’s experience includes working for more than a dozen years as an aide to Representative Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania.
She is hoping that by calling attention to her termination and resolving it through mediation, or whatever method is necessary, will show women they have a right to stand up and be heard when they are treated unfairly and outside of the letter of the law.