Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman and the Committee Achieve Victory for Former Employee of Archstone Apartments Fired Because of Pregnancy

WASHINGTON—A jury in the United States District Court in Baltimore returned a verdict this week in favor of a former leasing agent, Aieda McCallum, who had filed a complaint alleging that Archstone Apartments had discriminated against her on the basis of her pregnancy when it terminated her employment in 2008. The jury found that plaintiff was fired because of her pregnancy and awarded her compensatory damages for her emotional pain and suffering.  The jury's verdict now sets the stage for the court to award the plaintiff all of the economic damages, including lost wages, attributable to her unlawful termination.

Ms. McCallum filed suit in May 2012, alleging that her supervisors had discriminated against her by harassing her after she announced she was pregnant with twins and terminating her employment just fifteen days after her announcement.

Prior to her discharge, Ms. McCallum was a top-performing employee at the company, earning a promotion in 2007 from her original position as a resident concierge. As a leasing agent, her performance was frequently commended by residents and supervisors.

Richard Salzman of Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman commented, "The jury's verdict should send a clear and important message to all employers that firing an employee because she is pregnant is unlawful and will not be tolerated."

Matthew Handley of the Washington Lawyers' Committee commented, "We are incredibly pleased about the outcome and are glad that Archstone will now bear the financial burden that Ms. McCallum had to endure as a result of her wrongful termination. We will continue to monitor the treatment of pregnant employees to ensure that her story is not repeated."

Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman is one of the premier employment law firms in the Washington, D.C. area. The firm's expertise includes discrimination claims such as those based on sex or sexual harassment, hostile work environment, race, age, national origin, family responsibility, pregnancy, sexual orientation, military service and disability, as well as matters involving family and medical leave and retaliation. It litigates EEO claims under Title VII, ADEA, ADA, Rehabilitation Act, FMLA, Section 1981, USERRA and the D.C. Human Rights Act, as well as Maryland and Virginia civil rights statutes. The firm also advises organizations, non-profits and small businesses on compliance with employment laws; provides training; develops policies and employee handbooks; conducts sexual harassment investigations; mediates disputes; represents unions; and consults on a wide variety of employment matters.

The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for over 40 years has represented both individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights.  It has handled over 5,000 civil rights cases, in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, and sexual orientation.  It works for education reform in the DC Public Schools.   Leveraging its own broad expertise in discrimination litigation with the resources of Washington, D.C.'s private bar, the Committee's litigation efforts have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees.  Its capacity to mobilize the private bar has made it possible for the Committee to provide its clients more than 50,000 hours of quality legal representation every year.

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