$350K Settlement Concludes DOJ Pregnancy Discrimination SuitAgainst Fla. School District

The Palm Beach, Florida School District had a legal mess on its hands in the way it treated a pregnant assistant principal. What supposedly happened is a text-book case of how NOT to handle a pregnant worker.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the  district unlawfully demoted Assistant Principal Anne Williams Dorsey after she became pregnant. Her supervisor reassigned her to a position with less pay and benefits and filled her former position by replacing her with a male colleague she had trained, the DOJ charged in this Title VII lawsuit.

The department further alleges that Dorsey’s demotion was also unlawful retaliation against her for her efforts to report sexual harassment allegations, made by a third employee, against the male colleague who replaced her in her former position.

The DOJ announced on Thursday that the school district agreed to settle the lawsuit by paying $350,000 in back pay and damages to Dorsey.

In addition, the board must review and revise its anti-discrimination policies and procedures to ensure that it protects its employees from discrimination on the basis of sex, including pregnancy, and unlawful retaliation. The board must also provide training to its employees on its anti-discrimination policies and procedures.

“No woman should face discrimination for her decision to have a family,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Women like Anne Williams Dorsey deserve the full enforcement of this nation’s employment discrimination laws, which ensure that they do not lose valuable positions, pay or benefits because of their pregnancies.”

The award will go to Assistant Principal Anne Williams Dorsey of the Palm Beach County School District. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the district unlawfully demoted her after she became pregnant  her supervisor reassigned her to a position with less pay and benefits and filled her former position by replacing her with a male colleague she had trained. The department further alleges that Dorsey’s demotion was also unlawful retaliation against her for her efforts to report sexual harassment allegations, made by a third employee, against the male colleague who replaced her in her former position.

Why did the DOJ bring this lawsuit and not the EEOC? Because the DOJ enforces Title VII against local governments.

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