SAN FRANCISCO — For more than five years, Susana Macias worked as a janitor for Excel Building Services
, a janitorial services company based in Pleasanton, California, that contracts nationwide with major retail stores including Ikea
, according to a press release.
In March 2010, Excel fired Macias after she took maternity leave, telling her that "women don''t work as well after having babies," the release stated.
Excel replaced Macias, who had been promoted to janitorial supervisor, with a new male supervisor, the release noted.
According to the release, the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
filed a lawsuit against Excel alleging that the company discriminated against Macias on the basis of sex and pregnancy, violated federal and state family leave laws and refused to provide legally required accommodations.
"Janitorial companies are abusing this particularly vulnerable group of workers, who typically have limited access to legal services," said Lori Rifkin, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.
"These employers appear to be operating with a sense of impunity, believing they can routinely fire women janitors who become pregnant and nobody will notice," Rifkin added.