By Victoria Merlino
Queens and Brooklyn lawmakers are rallying around a JFK Airport worker who says that she was forced to leave her job after she became pregnant.
Janice Martin, a former customer service agent, filed a pregnancy discrimination complaint against her employer, Hallmark Aviation Services claiming that she was not given proper accommodations and her hours were cut when she requested a seated position. Martin became homeless after leaving her job, and is raising her now-4-month-old daughter in a Queens homeless shelter.
“When everything first started happening I was like, ‘Huh, they’re just another company getting over, they don’t care about us’ or whatever,” Martin said in an interview with the Daily News. “But then when I really thought about it, I thought, how could somebody who worked for the company over a certain amount of time get treated like this?”
Hallmark Aviation Services CEO Philipp Huber told the Daily News that the company frequently gives pregnant workers breaks. “We do look after our employees,” he said.
State Assemblymembers Brian Barnwell and Maritza Davila, as well as State Sen. Julia Salazar, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Women’s Issues, joined Martin at a press conference on Tuesday to highlight workplace discrimination and Martin’s story.
Another group of workers are also claiming mistreatment at JFK from their company, Eulen America, a contractor for American Airlines.
Last week, five Queens U.S. representatives wrote a statement advocating for the workers’ rights following claims that workers were being illegally forced to use sick time.