PHILADELPHIA -- Teaching assistant Janasia Wadley alleges that workplace discrimination led to her being treated differently and eventually fired while pregnant.
She sued Kiddie Academy of Langhorne, Essential Brands Inc. and others for multiple counts.
Wadley’s suit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On Oct. 1, Judge Gerald Pappert dismissed most of the claims against the defendants. However, Wadley’s complaints against Essential Brands are allowed to proceed.
Pappert noted that, “She contends that Kiddie Academy International changed its name to Essential Brands Inc., yet she lists Kiddie Academy International as a defendant... all claims against Kiddie Academy International are dismissed with prejudice.”
Her claims against Essential Brands rests on a theory of employer-employee relationship. She argues that because Essential Brands provides guidance to franchisees on its websites, they’re liable under both single and joint employer theories.
Wadley began working as an infant classroom assistant with the Kiddie Academy of Langhorne in 2016. She claims that her co-worker began harassing her in the fall of that year. Wadley’s pregnancy was high-risk and required her to take frequent bathroom breaks. She also had a lifting restriction. She could not safely lift the heavier babies.
According to the complaint, one of Wadley’s co-workers “refused to lift the heavier infants, and Wadley was called into the office and reprimanded as a result.”
Wadley was fired after she took a bathroom break without finding a replacement for the classroom.
Pappert writes that, “Even after four attempts, Wadley fails to contend that she was replaced by someone not in her protected class or to allege any facts showing that similarly situated colleagues outside the relevant class were treated more favorable for similar behavior.”
Most of Wadley’s claims were too weak to convince the court. However, she was able to demonstrate that as a member of a protected class, her firing could plausibly be attributed to discrimination.