Thomas Jefferson University accused of firing pregnant worker in retaliation for taking medical leave

By Jon Campisi | Sep 26, 2013

Jacqueia Simmons never expected to get fired from her job as a patient

registrar at a healthcare facility operated by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital because she announced that a life was growing inside of her.

Simmons, of Philadelphia, contends that she was fired in early March of this year, after more than 13 years on the job, supposedly as a result of falsification of a prescription for a controlled medication, according to the suit filed in federal court.

The month before her termination, the plaintiff had been suspended for the very same infraction, the record shows.

While the defendant listed the prescription falsification as the catalyst for Simmons’s firing, the woman claims she was actually let go in retaliation for taking time off during her pregnancy.

Simmons took maternity leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act in the summer of 2011, the complaint says, and she stayed out until December of that year.

During her leave, Simmons was repeatedly questioned by her immediate supervisor about a possible return date, the suit states.

Upon her return to work, Simmons claims she was constantly told that her absence had been a “hardship” for the defendant, and that officials were upset with Simmons for taking time off.

“Indeed, Ms. Simmons was informed on multiple occasions following her return from leave that TJU had been forced to hire two to three temporary employees per month to cover her position while she was out,” the lawsuit reads.

Simmons claims that she never falsified the prescriptions she was accused of falsifying, and maintains that the real reason behind her firing was retaliation for her taking pregnancy leave.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

Simmons alleges that she has suffered mental anguish and severe emotional distress as a result of the defendant’s actions.

She also purports to suffer from financial losses due to her job termination.

The plaintiff seeks either reinstatement or front pay, lost wages, unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and other legal relief.

The record shows that Simmons is being represented by Philadelphia attorney James A. Bell, IV.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05594-BMS. 

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