One criticism of attorneys that non-attorneys ( better known as “real people”) have is that we spend too much time in the netherworld of hypothetical situations. Surely, no employer would ever:

1. Refuse to believe his assistant when she announced that she was pregnant, because she told him for the first time on April 1st;
2. Call his assistant’s fetus a “thing” and refuse to look at the ultrasound picture;
3. Refuse to hire a temporary replacement for his assistant after the birth because she only had to be gone a few days – not the several weeks allowed by law;
4. Complain that “just because somebody’s pregnant, doesn’t mean I should have to pay for it,” even though it was actually covered by insurance;
5. Complain that his assistant was going to doctor’s appointments too often for her high-risk pregnancy;
6. Give his assistant a patent application entitled “Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force,”* saying that it would allow her to come back to work sooner;
7. Terminate both his assistant and her medical insurance coverage while she was still in the hospital, recuperating from her Caesarian – but not telling her until several days after that.

Well, these are some of the facts from EEOC v. HCS Medical Staffing, which entered judgment against the employer last month. The Wisconsin District Court awarded $48,340.40 in backpay, $50,000 in compensatory damages, and $50,000 in punitive damages. Yeah, even attorneys sometimes have their brains in the real world.

*One of Bay Oak Law’s favorite Oakland authors, Mary Roach, author of “Packing for Mars,” wrote about this invention. She especially liked the apparatus’ “elasticized ‘pocket-shaped newborn net.’”