Woman Claims Wrongful Termination from Bond CHC During Pregnancy

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It's mission is to provide health care for the poor, regardless of ability to pay.

But a former Bond Community Health Center employee claims when she had her own medical issue, she was unfairly fired.

Jamerica Gilliam had a difficult time when she was pregnant with her son Aaron.

Doctors ordered bed rest and for her to remain housebound.

Jamerica's mother Miriam Ford came to Tallahassee from Atlanta to help her daughter.

Gilliam says when she informed her employer Bond Community Health Center she would take early maternity leave, she received a letter dated two weeks before Christmas telling her she was fired.

"I was very surprised as much as the Bond Center promotes health in the community and being there for the community, they couldn't be there for their own worker," said Ford.

The letter says, "this termination during your probationary period is due to your unsatisfactory performance and inability to meet the job requirements as discussed by your immediate supervisor."

"She went out on maternity leave at the end of her six month probationary period, she was terminated as a probationary employee for poor performance," said attorney Dena Sokolow who was hired by Bond for the case.

But Ford points to her daughter's six month performance evaluation completed just five days before her termination letter.

In nine areas of evaluation, Jamerica received three outstanding ratings, one solid performer rating and five needs improvment ratings.

In the strengths comment section it says, "great problem solver and critical thinker."

In the weaknesses comment section it says, "needs to improve on interacting with team members."

It lists her accomplishments as "successful in updating backlog charts to be scanned."

Gilliam has filed an employment complaint of discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

In it she claims she "was not led to believe her job was in danger" as a result of her evaluation.

And she says her supervisor acknowledged Gilliam's "pregnancy was a contributing factor" in some of her cited shortcomings.

"If she wants to go back to work there, that's fine. If she don't that's fine too. But what I want to see happen is more protection for women that's pregnant."

"We have filed on behalf of Bond Community Health Center a response," said Sokolow. "We think it's a merit-less claim," she said.

Sokolow says these types of complaints typically take a few months to resolve.

She also says Gilliam must be successful with her complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations in order to file a lawsuit, otherwise the matter will be dropped.

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