Motel 6 Unlawfully Placed Pregnant Employee on Leave of Absence, EEOC Charges in Title VII Suit

Motel 6 goes by the slogan “we’ll keeps the lights on for ya” but for a pregnant employee at a Motel 6 in New Orleans the employment situation became very dim, according to a just-filed federal court lawsuit.

In a suit filed Aug. 31 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the hotel stands accused of forcing the employee to take a leave of absence because of her pregnancy.

As detailed in the lawsuit, Adrian Johnson, who worked at a New Orleans Motel 6, informed management that she was pregnant and that her pregnancy was considered high-risk.

On March 1, 2015, Johnson called her manager to inform him that she would be unable to work that day due to a pregnancy-related illness. The manager told Johnson that he was modifying the work schedule and taking her off the schedule for the entire week, despite the fact that she only needed one day off.

Six days later, Johnson attempted to call the manager to ask when she would be placed back on the schedule. Later that day, she received a text message from him stating that she was being placed on a leave of absence until her pregnancy was over. Johnson did not request to be placed on a leave of absence.

This violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because a worker is pregnant, the EEOC contends.

“This lawsuit should remind everyone unmistakably that federal law protects pregnant workers from such treatment,” said Jim Sacher, regional attorney for EEOC’s Houston District. “The fact that a manager would send a text explicitly suspending an employee because she is pregnant highlights the need for EEOC to continue its vigorous enforcement of pregnancy discrimination law – and that’s what we’ll do.”

If these allegations are true, then the motel would be wise to settle.

Let’s hope for the hotels sake this is an isolated incident and not evidence of hostility toward pregnant women throughout the chain.

6 Hospitality owns, operates and franchises over 1,300 economy lodging locations under the Motel 6 brand and the Studio 6 Extended Stay Brand. Headquartered in Dallas, G6 Hospitality employs more than 10,000 team members across the United States and Canada.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the lawsuit.

 

 

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