Jessica Craddock worked hard as a Deli and Bakery Clerk at a Kroger grocery store in Nashville, Tennessee. After working at Kroger for two years, in 2014 Jessica was in the middle of a complicated pregnancy with her first child. Her doctor told her that she was at risk of miscarriage and gave her a restriction on how much she could safely lift.
After briefly allowing her to work without going against her doctor’s orders, Kroger management changed course and told Jessica that, under Kroger policy, they could not accommodate her. Her manager sent her home without pay and said she could not come back until she had no medical restrictions. This was even though some of Jessica’s non-pregnant co-workers, such as those who were injured on the job, were allowed to work with similar types of medical-related accommodations as those that Jessica needed to stay healthy and stay on the job.
“I was pushed out of my job at Kroger even though I could do the work—I just needed to avoid heavy lifting so that I could stay healthy,” Jessica explained. “They put me on unpaid leave so I that had to go without income when I needed it the most. It was incredibly stressful for me and my family, and we are still trying to recover financially.”
A Better Balance soon learned that what happened to Jessica was not an isolated incident—Kroger regularly fails to properly accommodate pregnant workers even when they do accommodate non-pregnant workers with similar types of restrictions, in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
On November 15, 2016, A Better Balance filed a class action lawsuit against the Kroger grocery store chain. Before that, A Better Balance had successfully represented Ms. Craddock in her charge of discrimination against Kroger before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC recently found reasonable cause to believe Kroger violated the law.
“Kroger thinks it’s perfectly legal to treat pregnant workers like second-class citizens,” said Dina Bakst, Co-Founder & Co-President of A Better Balance. “This is not only shameful–but illegal. In 2016, no pregnant worker should be forced to choose between her job and a healthy pregnancy.”
“For a company as big as Kroger to have a policy of not providing accommodations for pregnant workers is truly shocking,” said Elizabeth Gedmark, Director of the Southern Office of A Better Balance. “We are not only asking for class-wide compensation, but for a change in policy so no one else has to go through what Ms. Craddock did.”
If you, or someone you know, works at Kroger and has experienced problems at work while pregnant, please call the Southern Office of A Better Balance at 615-915-2417.