Appeals court dismisses effort by firm to avoid paying discrimination award Human Rights Commission had imposed $26,000 fine

September 25, 1997|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The Court of Special Appeals yesterday dismissed an appeal by a Columbia health care firm that had been ordered to pay $26,500 to a woman who claimed the firm discriminated against her because of her pregnancy.

The court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to decide the matter because the issue did not originate in a lower court, but rather in a county administrative agency, the Human Rights Commission.

In June 1995, the commission ordered HealthCare Strategies Inc., a managed-care provider, to pay $26,500 in back pay to medical transcriptionist Judith Carter of Randallstown. Carter alleged that she was wrongfully fired from the company in 1992 after she extended her maternity leave.

Carter said she was following her doctor's orders, but the company argued she did not provide sufficient proof of a medical reason not to return to work.

Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

The company appealed the Human Rights Commission's decision to the Howard County Circuit Court. That appeal was dismissed on a technicality, but a significant one: There was nothing for the court to review because, according to the opinion, the company did not request transcripts of the Human Rights Commission hearing within the time required.

It was that decision that the company appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

Pub Date: 9/25/97

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