Julia Teague, an Austin, TX, mom, is suing her former employer, a hotel management corporation, for allegedly firing her because she was pregnant.
Julia had been a marketing director for Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa for six years when in 2017, she found out she was pregnant. She told KVUE, an ABC affiliate, that she and her husband had been trying for over a year, and were thrilled when the test results came back positive.
At the time of her pregnancy, Omni announced that Julia’s branch of the hotel was undergoing a $150 million renovation. Julia said she was told her job was safe, and the hotel would remain open despite the ongoing renovations.
One week before her due date, Julia’s boss called her in for a meeting. There she says her manager and an HR person informed her the resort would be closing for a year—and her position was being terminated. Not only that, Julia also said she was told her last day at work would be her first day back from maternity leave.
“I went back to my office and my supervisor said, ‘Well now you’ll have more time with your baby,'” Julia told KVUE. “And I just thought to myself, ‘How insulting.’ It seemed to me like they were making the decision that my place as a new mother was to be at home with my child versus focused on my career.”
To add to the unfairness, Julia said her fellow male executive colleagues were offered transfers to other Omni Hotels.
Julia, already a mother of one daughter at the time of her pregnancy, said she had always been a successful member of the team. In 2014, she won an award for Director of Marketing of the Year at the company. Being suddenly let go threw a wrench in both her personal and professional life.
“It turned what should have been the best time of my life into one of the most stressful, trying times of my life,” Julia said of her maternity leave. A month after her official last day, Julia said her former job was posted again. She applied, but said management told her she wasn’t qualified.
Previously, she had been asked to write her own job description. “I looked at what [the hotel] posted versus what I had submitted, and it was word-for-word almost exactly the same, and they had just added, I think, three new bullets related to the country club,” Julia said.
So in September 2019 she contacted an attorney to sue Omni Hotels Management Corporation on the grounds of pregnancy discrimination.
In a statement to KVUE, a representative for Omni Hotels said, “We’re unable to provide specific details due to pending litigation; however, discrimination on any basis at Omni Hotels & Resorts is strictly prohibited. As the suit mentions, Ms. Teague’s layoff was part of a round of layoffs when Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa closed for a $150 million renovation. When the job was reopened, Ms. Teague was replaced by another female candidate.”
Julia is seeking damages for lost income and “compensation for emotional distress.” As a mother of two daughters, she felt that fighting back against her employer’s unfair policy felt even more pressing. “I want to look at them and know that I did everything I could to fight for women’s rights,” Julia said. “And I want them to know that I did my part to ensure they’re never going to have to deal with this.”