Pinay sues casino for pregnancy discrimination in US

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jun 05 2012 02:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2012 10:48 PM

RENO, Nevada - A Filipina is suing her former employer for allegedly firing her for being pregnant and saying “bye-bye” instead of goodbye while speaking to clients on the phone.

Melodee Megia worked as a room service sales employee at The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas from November 2010 to August 2011.

She filed the lawsuit last month at the Clark County District Court in Nevada.

The 37-year old Pinay said she was fired from her job last year for saying "bye-bye" on the phone instead of "good bye" and it happened when she was 8 months pregnant.

"It's circumstantial, but its comments by her supervisors," said Megia's counsel, Atty. Mark Thierman, on proof that his client got fired because of her pregnancy.

Thierman added, “For example, she was asked by room service to deliver a pleasure pack, which contained condoms. Her supervisor said, ‘That’s what happens when you get pregnant. And isn’t it a little too late for that?’ to her. Those kinds of nasty remarks, coupled with the fact that there was no good reason for letting her go, are the basis for the discrimination claim,” said Thierman.

Megia was given the reason that she was fired for saying ‘bye-bye’, instead of ‘good bye’, to clients on the telephone.

“It is the reason they gave her and of course if they had a script that said 'good bye' and she didn't follow it and they had disciplined other people for not following it, that would be one thing. But no one has been disciplined for being casual and friendly when they say good bye. There was no script that required 'good bye' instead of 'bye-bye',” he added.

Megia also alleges that the casino does not pay employees for the time they had to wait for, and change into their uniforms at work.

“The changing room time is much more than the pregnancy discrimination. The pregnancy discrimination could be 2-3 years of pay until she gets another job and some punitive damages, maybe $100,000 on top of that. The changing room, not paying them for mandatory time spent changing into another clothes, could be as much as $18 million. There are a lot of employees at The Cosmopolitan---over 4,000. And that's a half hour a day, everyday, for every employee. That's lot of time,” he said.

Megia also joined the class-action suit against The Cosmopolitan for workers’ wages, saying employees were not paid for the time they had to wait for and change into their uniforms on a day-to-day basis.

Thierman said that his client is asking for damages which could amount to up to three years’ worth of pay plus punitive damages worth $100,000 for the pregnancy discrimination claim.

The labor lawyer said the class action lawsuit for workers’ wages could reach up to $18 million.

He said, “There are a lot of employees at The Cosmopolitan — over 4,000. That’s a half an hour a day — everyday — for every employee. That’s a lot of time.”

Amy Rossetti, public relations director of The Cosmopolitan, told the media in a statement, “As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

When asked if The Cosmopolitan has responded to the lawsuit or is working to settle the case, Thierman replied, “Not a peep.”