LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Lindsey Wilcox is expecting a baby -- and bills -- but her quest to find part-time work got her an unexpected response from her local diner.
On Tuesday, she sent her resume on Facebook to the popular Reececliff Family Diner. Someone at the restaurant responded, asking her to come in for an interview. She said yes and mentioned she'd had a hard time getting hired elsewhere because she's pregnant.
"Is that ok?" she wrote.
The response, she says, was, "No. Thank you."
Her boyfriend was outraged. He posted a screenshot of the message on social media and it went viral.
Further escalating the incident, Lindsey says the restaurant responded to angry commenters by posting her resume on their page, insinuating she wasn't qualified.
"That was a huge invasion of my privacy, of my previous employers, where I went to school, what town I used to live in, where I am from," Wilcox told FOX 13 News Thursday. "I can do just as much as anyone else can."
Employment attorney Raul Valles said state and federal laws prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on pregnancy status, just as the laws prevent decisions based on race, religion, or disability.
Employers who do otherwise can be sued for potential wages, back wages, and emotional damages.
"An applicant should be able to expect that the person interviewing them is going to take the fact they are pregnant and put it aside," said Valles.
After all the attention, restaurant owner James Bronkhorst offered an apology to Wilcox, saying the employee who wrote to her wasn't authorized to do so. He said the employee will be reprimanded and educated on proper procedures.
The owner also said if he had been made aware of Wilcox's situation, he would have spoken to her directly and talked about opportunities. He said his restaurant has followed proper employment laws and procedures for 16 years. He also offered Wilcox a second chance to come in for an interview.
She said she is no longer interested but she will keep looking for a job.
Wilcox made one final point that should make a prospective mother even more appealing to an employer: "A working parent is going to work 10 times harder than a 16-year-old kid who is going to call out on a Friday night and go party."