A Douglas County woman is suing Adapt, claiming that the nonprofit organization fired her because she got pregnant and took a medical leave after giving birth to her child.
Kayla Fields, who claims she was fired while on maternity leave, is suing Adapt for more than $1 million, according to her complaint, which was filed in circuit court last month. Fields, through her Roseburg attorney Jason M. Montgomery, is asking for $999,999, plus interest, attorneys fees and costs.
Adapt did not formally respond to the complaint within 30 days of being served, as required by law, which prompted Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen E. Johnson to find the agency in default.
Adapt did not return phone calls seeking comment on the case.
According to the complaint, Fields was qualified for her position and received positive evaluations throughout her employment. She was on maternity/medical leave on June 1 of this year, and was set to continue to be on leave until July 8. However, she was terminated on June 1.
“Defendant fired Plaintiff on June 1, 2020, because of Plaintiff’s pregnancy, the birth of her child, and her use of medical leave following the birth of her child. Defendant gave a sham excuse that Plaintiff was fired for allegedly ‘negative/derogatory’ banter that was allegedly discovered while Plaintiff was on leave. This allegation was false and was a pretense for Defendant’s true motive, which was to fire Plaintiff because of her recent pregnancy and related use of medical leave due to the inconvenience it caused Defendant.”
Adapt refused Fields’ multiple requests for specific information regarding the alleged “banter” for which she was fired. Adapt never warned Fields or gave her any disciplinary measures regarding the alleged banter before firing her, the complaint said.
The complaint alleges that Adapt discriminated against Fields because of her sex. The complaint also said Adapt violated the Oregon Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Both laws require employers to give workers unpaid time off for several medical-related reasons, including the birth of a child.
“Plaintiff was exercising her right to medical leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act, or believed herself to be exercising such leave, at the time of her termination. Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff’s use of family leave by terminating her employment,” the complaint said.
Montgomery, the attorney representing Fields, said he was limited in what he could discuss with an active case. Montgomery did say that he expected the case to be resolved within a few weeks.