Pregnancy Bias Suit Settled for $100K; EEOC Alleged Brokerage Firm Withdrew Job Offer

Happily I haven’t had to write up a pregnancy discrimination case of late.

That streak comes to an end today.  For $100,000, a Florida insurance company has settled a lawsuit alleging it rescinded an offer to female employee after learning she was pregnant.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed this Title VII lawsuit last July against Brown & Brown, a Daytona Beach-based insurance brokerage firm. The suit alleged that the firm made a written job offer to the applicant and also sent her an employment agreement for a “personal lines technical assistant” position at its Daytona Beach location and proposed employment start dates. Upon receipt of the offer letter, the applicant affirmed her interest by email and sought to ask a few questions regarding the offer. About two hours later, the applicant spoke with the department leader’s assistant and inquired about maternity benefits because she was pregnant. The assistant immediately advised the department leader of the applicant’s pregnancy and, minutes later, according to the suit, the applicant received an email from the company rescinding the job offer, stating that it “had a very urgent need to have somebody in the position long term …We appreciate you telling us beforehand.”

That appreciation doesn’t let the employer off the hook for this apparent pregnancy discrimination.

“The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that pregnant employees be treated the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work,” said Michael Farrell, the EEOC’s Miami District director. “This includes treating pregnant employees the same as others at the hiring stage.”

EEOC Miami District Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg added, “The decision to hire should be based upon an applicant’s qualifications, not stereotypical assumptions about pregnancy, motherhood or other caretaking responsibilities.”

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