George Lucas is most widely known for his prolific film career as a writer, producer, and director of some of the most popular American films ever created. Lucas is responsible for films like Indiana Jones, American Graffiti, and Star Wars. Until his partial retirement in January 2012 he was Chief Executive and Chairman of his company, Lucasfilm. But no matter how famous or wealthy an individual or employer may be, they still need to be aware that discriminating against employees is never appropriate. In 2009, Lucas and his company learned this lesson the hard way when a former employee sued for being terminated after Lucasfilm discovered she was pregnant.
Specifically, pregnancy discrimination is unlawful pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Similarly, discrimination against pregnant women also violates Ohio R.C. § 4112.02(A), which makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice: “For any employer, because of the … sex … of any person, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.” Even more specifically, R.C. § 4112.01(B) provides that: “For the purposes of divisions (A) to (F) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code, the terms “because of sex” and “on the basis of sex” include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, any illness arising out of and occurring during the course of a pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
In the Lucasfilm case, employee Julie Veronese interviewed and was hired for a position as an assistant to the estate manager at Lucasfilm. Veronese was to be responsible for routine daily tasks necessary to care for Lucas’s estate which has as many as nine houses located on it. Just prior to starting her new position, thirty six year old Veronese disclosed she was pregnant and Lucasfilm promptly showed her the door.
In her lawsuit, Veronese alleged that the decision to terminate her was based on the fact that she was pregnant and following a trial in 2011 a jury agreed with her. The jury awarded her over $93,000.00 in damages, an additional $20,000.00 for emotional distress and over $1,000,000.00 in attorney fees.
Unfortunately, Veronese’s case didn’t end here – everything in Hollywood has to be a trilogy. Lucasfilm continued to contest the jury’s award and was successful in requesting a new trial. The epic legal saga came to an end after the parties agreed to a confidential settlement before going forward with a second trial.
Although this case was ripped out of Hollywood headlines, the principles and protections apply to pregnant women everywhere, including Ohio.
Employment discrimination attorneys answers: “Can I be fired for getting pregnant?” and “What should I do after my boss fired me for being pregnant?”
If you are facing discrimination or harassment simply because you are pregnant, protect your legal rights — call the right attorney. Employers cannot harass, fire, wrongfully terminate, discriminate against, demote, or wrongfully discipline a female employee just because she got pregnant. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation at (216) 291-4744, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims. Our pregnancy discrimination lawyers know your rights and will fight to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still saying, “My boss …”, “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to pregnancy discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm or any individual attorney.