Woman Wins Pregnancy Lawsuit Against Tulsa Sheriff's Office

Sunday, October 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County Sheriff's office lost a 2.6 million-dollar lawsuit for firing a pregnant woman.

A jury awarded the money to a former secretary Friday.

Jennifer Bates' youngest daughter is now three and a half.

It was when she was pregnant with Ali that she worked as a secretary at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

She had some problems with her pregnancy and she says the day after she left for a week of doctor-ordered bed rest her ordeal began.

"At the time I was asleep on the couch, they came into my home he was accompanied by another employee. She was carrying a box that had my belongings in it," says Bates.

Bates says officers from Internal Affairs brought a letter telling her she was terminated.

They said she was accused of falsifying her time sheet, which she denies.

"I was hysterical. My husband was trying to calm me down. I was in my pajamas arguing something that I didn’t' feel that I should have to argue," says Bates.

Bates says she appealed to Sheriff Stanley Glanz, but he upheld her firing.

So she took it to court, she says they discriminated against her because she was pregnant, and not because of a timesheet.

“The civil rights act was amended in 1978, so it's clearly been illegal to discriminate against somebody because of their pregnancy," says Kay Bridger-Riley, Bates Attorney. “We knew we had a lot of evidence and we knew that they had not followed their policies properly.”

A jury agreed with Bates that she was wrongly fired.

Her attorney says what won the case for them was the head of internal affairs who testified that he had not actually completed an investigation in her case about the time sheet.

Bates won a 2.6 million-dollar settlement.
She says she'll now start getting her life back together after the four-year ordeal.

The sheriff's office says they can't comment on this case pending a possible appeal. The District Attorney says he'll visit with county commissioners to see if they do want to appeal.

Bates says appeal or no appeal on the award she is just glad justice was served.