Pregnant Oregon Woman Fired for Taking Too Many Bathroom Breaks

Company claims Dawn Steckmann was "stealing from the company"

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A Portland, Oregon, woman claims she was fired for taking too many bathroom breaks when she was pregnant with her second child.

Dawn Steckmann, a former technician at Maxim Integrated Products, alleges in a gender and discrimination lawsuit that her bosses at the Beaverton cell phone chip manufacturer never told her she had to clock out before using the toilet.

The suit, which was obtained by PEOPLE, alleges one of Steckmann’s supervisors told her she had been fired for stealing because “not clocking out to use the restroom is stealing from the company.”

The same boss, she said, told her that she could have been “watching a movie” during her bathroom breaks.

Steckmann is seeking $400,000 in damages. Melissa Healy, who is defending Maxim in the civil lawsuit, did not return a call for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Steckmann, who worked at the company for 10 years, claims she told her supervisor during her first pregnancy in 2011 that she needed more frequent bathroom breaks and asked if she needed to clock out. He told her not to bother, the lawsuit said.

Even before she was fired, Steckmann had complained to the CEO that her supervisor favored male employees over female, assigning them the best tasks and going light on discipline, the suit said.

When she told him in January 2013 she was pregnant a second time, he “appeared unhappy with the news,” the lawsuit stated. Because of a bladder condition from her first pregnancy, she needed to go even more often during her second – and more quickly.

“[Steckmann’s] bladder issues were so severe that she would not even have had time to clock out to use the restroom without an accident,” the lawsuit states.

The suit was filed last month in Multnomah County.

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