SAN FRANCISCO — AT&T Corp. was sued by the Communications Workers of America union, which accused the No. 1 U.S. long-distance phone company of discriminating against female employees who took pregnancy leave before April 1979.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks class-action status for about 15,000 women on disability leave before April 29, 1979, for pregnancy, the union said. Union spokeswoman Candice Johnson declined to specify damages being sought.
AT&T required pregnant employees to take personal leave, which reduced their pensions and retirement benefits, said the union, which represents 35,000 AT&T employees. A law banning discrimination for pregnancy took effect in 1979, and the company changed its policy without adjusting benefits of women on leave before 1979, the union said.
Former AT&T unit Pacific Bell in 1998 agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement after a U.S. appeals court ruled that the company's pregnancy leave policy violated pension and civil rights laws, the union said.