Suit: West Side nonprofit fired woman during maternity leave

SHARE Suit: West Side nonprofit fired woman during maternity leave

A former employee of a nonprofit human services organization on the West Side filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the agency fired her when she took maternity leave.

Angie Yeoh filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming Association House of Chicago violated the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Association House of Chicago, at 1116 N. Kedzie Ave., offers an alternative high school, community service, prevention and educational development, behavioral health and child welfare programs, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Yeoh, who worked as the arts coordinator in the agency’s prevention and education division for five years, alleges in the lawsuit that she informed her employer of her pregnancy roughly eight months before she was to take maternity leave.

On Aug. 26, 2013, Yeoh had a doctor’s appointment and then went to work afterward and continued to work the rest of the day, according to the lawsuit.

But the next day, she informed the nonprofit’s human relations department that she was requesting sick leave for that day and that, under her doctor’s advice, would begin her maternity leave on Aug. 28, 2013, the suit alleges.

According to the suit, Yeoh’s baby was scheduled to be born Sept. 26, 2013.

But on Aug. 29, Yeoh received a “callous and calculated” phone call from the company’s president, human resources director and the prevention and educational development director, informing her that she had been terminated because of a lack of funding for her position, the suit said.

Yeoh alleges in the complaint that “she had received no notice whatsoever that her employment was going to be terminated” and that it was “completely out of the blue.”

Yeoh was also given a letter that informed that her employment had been retroactively terminated, effective Aug. 26, 2013, the suit claims. The letter also said that Yeoh’s health, vision and dental insurance would be canceled on Sept. 30, 2013.

Her son was born on Sept. 21, 2013 and, because of complications related to the birth, remained hospitalized for four days, the suit said.

The lawsuit refers to Yeoh’s employer’s actions as “extreme and outrageous” given that terminating her employment and benefits without warning while she was expecting the birth of a child would cause her to “be especially susceptible to shock and severe emotional distress.”

The two-count suit alleges violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The nonprofit’s president, human resources director and the prevention and educational development director are all named as defendants.

Yeoh is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

A representative from Association House of Chicago did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

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