Archive for August, 2020

EEOC Snags $50K Settlement From D.C. Restaurant For Harassment, Retaliation Victims

Bad behavior in the nation’s capital isn’t limited to politicians.

Sol Mexican Grill, LLC and Sol Mexican Grill Two, LLC, (“Sol Mexican Grill”), which own and operate several restaurants in Washington, D.C., will pay $50,000 and furnish equitable relief to resolve a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

According to the lawsuit, female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by a Sol Mexican Grill supervisor. The harassment included unwelcome sexual comments and propositions and unwelcome physical contact. When the employees complained about harassment, Sol Mexican Grill failed to adequately respond to the harassment and instead retaliated against the female employees by reducing their work hours or firing them for objecting to and complaining about the harassment, and for participating in the EEOC’s investigation.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation and employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the United States District Count for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-2227) on September 26, 2018, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to $50,000 in monetary relief that will be paid to two victims of the harassment, the consent decree resolving the suit provides for injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The consent decree requires Sol Mexican Grill to retain an external consultant with expertise in Title VII compliance to investigate any complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation. Sol Mexican Grill must also disseminate a revised sexual harassment policy in English and Spanish, provide training to all employees on preventing and reporting sexual harassment, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC. The supervisor whom the EEOC says was responsible for the harassment no longer works for Sol Mexican Grill.

“Low-wage restaurant workers are too often victims of sexual harassment. These workers, and their employers, all benefit from implementing policies and procedures to prevent and address harassment,” said Acting Washington Field Office Director Mindy Weinstein.

“Several lawsuits in recent years addressing sexual harassment in the restaurant industry have been resolved through consent decrees that have compensated the victims and put safeguards in place to prevent future harassment,” said Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.

The Philadelphia District Office of EEOC oversees Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.  The legal staff of the Philadelphia District Office of EEOC also prosecutes discrimination cases from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

EEOC: Telework Denial Was ADA Violation

Was one day of working at home for several weeks too much to ask?

Design and Integration, Inc., a leading provider of audio-visual technology solutions, violated federal law when it fired a sales administrator who requested a reasonable accom­modation for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced August 17.

According to the lawsuit, a sales administrator who worked in Design and Integration’s Baltimore headquarters requested to telework one day per week for three or four weeks as a reasonable accommodation for her disability of anxiety and depression. Her duties included researching new projects, reviewing online job applications and conducting telephone interviews. Design and Integration refused to grant this accommodation even though she could perform her duties remotely, and the company allowed other employees to telework. Instead, the company fired the sales administrator and said it would not have hired her had it known about her anxiety and depression.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA also requires employers to reasonably accommodate an individual’s disability unless the employer can prove that doing so would be an undue hardship. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she requested a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Design and Integration, Inc., Civil Action No.1:20-cv-02350-ELH) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Even before the pandemic, EEOC guidance and case law established that telework can be a reasonable accommodation,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson. “In this case, it is hard to see how it would have posed a hardship. The employee requested telework for a brief time period, and the employer already permitted others to telework.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “Employers should engage in the inter­active process to try to keep qualified individuals with disabilities working. It is unfair, and against the law, to terminate someone simply because she requested a reasonable accommodation for her disa­bility.”

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

$325K Settlement for Thai Farm Workers in National Origin, Race Case Brought by the EEOC

Strike a blow for justice for agricultural workers.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last Friday announced the settlement of its national origin and race discrimination case against defendants Green Acre Farms, Inc. and Valley Fruit Orchards, LLC.  The settlement encompasses monetary relief and injunctive relief remedies.

The EEOC initially filed the Title VII lawsuit in April 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc. d/b/a Global Horizons Manpower, Inc., Green Acre Farms, Inc., Valley Fruit Orchards, LLC., et al, Case No. 11-CV-3045-RMP).  A default judgment was previously awarded against Global Horizons, the company that provided farm labor services and supplied H-2A guest workers from Thailand to Green Acre and Valley Fruit. The two farms—Green Acre and Valley Fruit—remain as the only defendants left in the case.

The EEOC’s claims against the Green Acre and Valley Fruit farms were initially dismissed on summary judgment by the District Court, which also awarded both farms their fees and costs of litigation.  The EEOC appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Ninth Circuit overturned the award of fees and costs and reversed and remanded the case back to the District Court.  On remand, the District Court again dismissed the EEOC’s claims on summary judgment, and the Court granted the farm defendants’ second motion for fees.  The EEOC again appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

The case resolved for a total payment of $325,000.00 which will be distributed among 105 Thai farm workers who were placed at the two farms by Global Horizons, the farm labor contractor.   Additionally, Green Acre and Valley Fruit agreed to implement injunctive relief including accountability measures over farm labor contractors, training, review of policies and procedures, and reporting. The farms have denied liability at all times during the action.

“Employers are encouraged to monitor and ensure farm labor contractors comply with EEO laws because Title VII obligations are non-delegable to third parties,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.

Rosa Viramontes, director of EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, added, “Assisting vulnerable workers is one of Chair Janet Dhillon’s priorities for 2020 and remains a priority for the EEOC.”

Eliminating discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.  These policies can include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and human trafficking.

$100K Settlement Reached in EEOC Suit Against Jeweler for Race, Orientation, and Disability Bias

This luxury jeweler hit the Trifecta–and not in  good way.

Baccarat, Inc., which operates a retail store in Manhattan that sells luxury crystal products, will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit for employment discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday. The EEOC had charged Baccarat with harassing a sales consultant at its Manhattan store based on race, sexual orientation and disability harassment.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the sales consultant was subject to constant and virulent verbal harassment by two co-workers for close to three years, with the knowledge of the supervisor, to whom the sales consultant complained on several occasions. The harassment victim was forced to quit to escape the abuse, the EEOC said.

The EEOC filed suit (U.S. EEOC v. Baccarat, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:20-CV-02918) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after first attempting a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s lawsuit initially charged Baccarat with failing to take prompt action to end race and disability harassment following numerous employee complaints to management and human resources. The EEOC amended the complaint to include an allegation of sexual orientation harassment following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 15, 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020).

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Paul G. Gardephe, will remain in effect for two and a half years and, in addition to the $100,000 payment to the harassment victim, requires signif­icant non-monetary relief designed to prevent further harassment. These provisions include the imple­mentation of an 800 hotline for employee complaints; training for all employees, including management and human resources staff, on the requirements of Title VII and the ADA and their prohibition against harassment in the workplace; and specific one-on-one training for the manager who failed to report or stop the harassment. The company must also report to the EEOC any complaints of race, sexual orient­ation, or disability harassment it receives in the next two and a half years.

The lawsuit was settled prior to the parties engaging in substantial pre-trial discovery.

“Baccarat’s willingness to resolve this matter early on enabled the parties to jointly craft an effective resolution designed to prevent harassment,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “When it is possible to negotiate an effective settlement, as was the case here, the employer expends fewer resources responding to the lawsuit and the impacted employee receives compensation much sooner than if the parties had engaged in protracted litigation.”

EEOC New York District Director Judy Keenan added, “There are still far too many complaints filed with our office in which an employee makes his or her employer aware that harassment is occur­ring but management fails to take prompt, effective steps to end it. The EEOC is committed to vigor­ously investigating complaints in which a victim charges harassment based on race, sexual orientation, disability or other protected categories.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The New York District Office, located in Manhattan, conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

BONUS COVERAGE: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC will hold a remote, audio-only Commission meeting today Thursday, August 27, at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). The meeting will be closed to the public.

The following item will be considered at the meeting:

Formal Opinion Letter Discussing the Commission’s Authority under Section 707 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In 1972, the EEOC assumed the Attorney General’s previous authority to bring pattern or practice cases against non-government employers under section 707.

OSHA Teams With FDA to Produce Checklist to Protect Food Industry Workers From Coronavirus

File this development under the heading “something is better than nothing.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have developed a checklist for human and animal food manufacturers to consider when continuing, resuming or reevaluating operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The checklist is useful for persons growing, harvesting, packing, manufacturing, processing or holding human and animal food regulated by FDA. The checklist includes the following considerations:

  • Ensure employee health and a safe workplace;
  • Investigate exposure and determine when an employee should be tested for the coronavirus; and
  • Configure the work environment to help minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus among workers.

In addition, the checklist provides examples of ways to align workstations to include social distancing practices.

Food manufacturers can use this checklist in conjunction with other sector-specific information, such as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA for agriculture and meat and poultry processing workers and employers.

The checklist is OSHA’s latest effort to protect America’s workers and help employers provide healthy workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. OSHA has published numerous alerts and advisories for various industries, including Guidance on Returning to Work, which assists employers as they reopen businesses and employees return to work.

Visit OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage frequently for updates. For further information about coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Cutting Corners: EEOC Hits Laundry Service With ADA Suit Over Refusal to Hire Disabled Applicant

The tell here was the employer’s actions after rejecting a disabled applicant.

Crothall Healthcare, Inc., a medical laundry and linen service, violated federal law when it refused to extend a job offer to an applicant at its Rome, Ga., location because of his disabilities, a hearing impairment and cerebral palsy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Crothall interviewed Billy Pack for a laundry services worker position. Pack presented for the interview with an American Sign Language interpreter and mobility aids and asked for a stool as an accommodation for his disability. Crothall refused to extend an offer to Pack and claimed the position had been filled, but hired more than 80 non-disabled workers for the posi­tion shortly after Pack applied, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Crothall Healthcare, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-190-HLM-WEJ) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seek­ing reinstatement, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Pack, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.

“An employer cannot legally refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of his disability,” said Robert Weisberg, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “The EEOC is here to vindicate the rights of victims of unlawful employment discrimination.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The EEOC is committed to ending disability discrimination in the workplace. Employers may not deny an employment opportunity to a qualified person with a disability based on unfounded assumptions.”

Wayne, Pa.-based Crothall owns and operates facilities nationwide that provide laundry and linen services to hospitals.

Political Expression–At Work and Away From It

With the party conventions upon us, it’s a good time to consider the do’s and dont’s of political expression in the workplace. Here’s our regular guest blogger and HR pro Robin Paggi to discuss. Robin is the training coordinator at Worklogic HR. She is the author of a forthcoming Gen Z – Managing the Newest Generation in the Workforce scheduled for publication and sale on April 6, 2021.

Political Expression –At Work and Away From It

We’re a little more than two months away from the election and politics is naturally the focus of our national dialogue. So, should it be a part of our dialogue at work?

If you’re like me, your answer is “no.” Because I work in human resources and frequently mediate conflicts between employees, I know it’s difficult for people with differing opinions to get along.

Thus, I was not surprised to learn that a study conducted by the HR firm Randstad found that, out of the 800 respondents, 55 percent witnessed heated political discussions at work.

Why do political discussions get so heated? In their article “The biology of cultural conflict,” Gregory Berns and Scott Atran say that being presented with beliefs and traditions that are contrary to ours causes our amygdala–the part of the brain that causes the fight or flight response–to activate, thus inspiring some of us to “experience moral outrage and engage in violence.”

Indeed, I read an exchange on Facebook in which two women who are FB friends with a friend of mine physically threatened each other because they couldn’t express their differing political opinions without insulting each other.

Because it’s difficult for most people to engage in an exchange of opposing viewpoints without getting angry, it’s wise to stay away from political discussions at work. And, if you’re an employer, you might just decide to ban them altogether. Before you do, here are some things you should know.

Employees’ Rights

The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to talk about politicians and political issues when those topics are work-related. For example, employees may discuss Candidate X when that discussion is really about the candidate’s push for a higher minimum wage or something that could affect employees’ working conditions. However, employees may be prevented from discussing Candidate X when that discussion is really about the candidate’s stance on abortion or something else that has nothing to do with work.

The same rules apply to clothing. For example, employees may be prevented from wearing a “Vote for Candidate X” shirt but may not be prevented from wearing a “Vote for Candidate X because he’ll raise the minimum wage” shirt.

Having said all that, employers still have the right to put a stop to any communication or behavior that negatively affects productivity or causes distractions whether it is protected or not.

Additionally, employers have the right to take adverse action–such as firing or demoting – employees for their communication and behavior outside of work in certain situations. For example, employers may not take action against an employee for engaging in lawful activities, such as participating in a protest. However, that changes if an employee skips work because of protesting or is caught vandalizing while protesting.

The same philosophy applies to social media postings. Employees have the right to express their political opinions on-line–such as urging people to vote for Candidate X–as long as those postings aren’t inflammatory or violate the company’s social media policies.

For example, in 2017, Juli Briskman was photographed giving the middle finger to President Trump’s motorcade while it drove past her. Briskman posted the picture on Facebook and Twitter, it quickly went viral, and she was subsequently dismissed from her job with a government contractor for violating its social media policy. Briskman sued for wrongful termination and lost.

You might be wondering, “What about the First Amendment? Don’t employees have the right to say whatever they want to at work or away from it?” Not exactly. The First Amendment protects people from the government taking action against them, not from their employers.

What Can Employers Do

Banning talking about politics at work is not the answer, but here are some things employers may do:

  • Nothing and see if anything happens.
  • Send out a friendly reminder such as: “As our national election approaches, please be reminded that conversations regarding the election, candidates, and issues are to remain respectful and not interfere with job performance.”
  • Create a policy such as: “Our company supports employees’ right to participate in political activities on their own time. The following activities are prohibited from being performed while on duty: demonstrating, counting or recounting votes, circulating petitions, soliciting votes or contributions at any time in any working area, conducting or participating in opinion polls, fundraising, and all other activities not considered part of the employee’s normal duties.”

Instead of having to refrain from expressing our opinions so we don’t get heated, what most of us need is training on how to calmly and respectfully disagree with others. Perhaps then we could discuss our opposing viewpoints without going to war. What a wonderful world that would be.

For other columns by Robin Paggi, search “paggi” in the blog search box.

 

$1.25M Settled Reached in Race Harassment Suit

Think there’s no more racism in the workplace? Think again.

A San Jose-based electrical subcontractor at the Apple Park construc­tion project, Air Systems Inc. (ASI), will pay $1,250,000 to eight African American former employees and provide other relief to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Friday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the racial harassment included racist graffiti of swastikas and racial epithets drawn on the walls of the portable toilets at the Apple Park construction project, as well as a noose at the worksite hung next to a scrawled note containing other expletives, and a threat of lynching. In addition, the company failed to act when notified by two African American employees that a white coworker had taunted them with racial pejoratives.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits racial harassment and requires employers to take prompt action to investigate and stop the behavior after they receive complaints. The EEOC filed suit (U.S. EEOC v. Air Systems, Inc., Case No. 5:19-cv-07574) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

According to the consent decree which is effective until December 31, 2022, ASI will provide $1,250,000 in compensatory damages to the former employees and hire an EEO consultant to help implement the decree’s terms. ASI will review company policies and train all employees, including superintendents and general foremen, on preventing and reporting racial harassment.  ASI will also work with the consultant to develop policies and procedures to facilitate discussions with potential subcontractors, general contractors and unions about how to best monitor, prevent and remedy harassment and racist graffiti at worksites and develop proposals to incorporate such terms into contracts.

William Tamayo, the EEOC’s San Francisco District Director, said, “While a construction worksite may raise issues over who controls conditions, this case should send a clear message that whether an employer is a subcontractor or the general contractor, all employers have a duty to take prompt, effective action to stop harassment and hate speech in the workplace. In this period of national reckoning on the persistence of racial discrimination, we’re glad that Air Systems agreed to settle this matter and provide significant relief to these workers.”

EEOC San Francisco Senior Trial Attorney Raymond Cheung stated, “These workers demonstrated bravery and perseverance to stand up against discrimination at one of the largest construction projects in the country. It has been an honor to represent them.”

According to its website https://www.airsystemsinc.com, ASI is a building contractor based in San Jose, California, that employs approximately 500 employees statewide and is part of the EMCOR Group, Inc., (NYSE: EME).

Close Shave: Hard Line Grooming Policy Casualty in McDonald’s Settlement With EEOC

This McDonald’s franchise is saying bye-bye to its no beards policy. Will others follow suit?

Chalfont & Associates Group, Inc., owner of 11 McDonald’s restaurants in the Greater Orlando Central Florida area, has agreed to pay $69,555 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Wednesday.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, McDonald’s refused to hire a Jewish applicant as a part-time maintenance worker because, due to his religious practices, he would not shave his beard to comply with McDonald’s “completely clean-shaven” grooming policy. The stated purpose of McDonald’s grooming policy was supposedly to convey an “image of wholesome­ness” to the public.

The applicant offered to wear a beard net as a solution but was denied, the EEOC said. Also, after the applicant reported religious discrimination to EEOC, McDonald’s responded by revising its applications to expressly require all applicants to certify that they would comply with the company’s “completely clean-shaven” grooming policy.

Such a denial of an accommodation request violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, unless it poses an undue hardship.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division (EEOC v. Chalfont & Associates Group, Inc. doing business as McDonald’s, Case No. 6:19-cv-01304-Orl-78GJK) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to $69,555 in monetary relief to the applicant, the 2.5-year consent decree requires McDonald’s to amend its grooming policies; conduct live anti-discrimination training; provide written notice to each employee regarding his or her rights under Title VII; report to EEOC any religious accom­modation requests which the company denies; and post notices at all of its restaurants about the lawsuit.

“There is no inherent conflict between personal religious expression and earning a living, and federal law supports that view,” said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District. “Emp­loyers should review their personnel policies to ensure that they permit the reasonable accom­mo­dation of employees’ religious beliefs.”

Bradley Anderson, acting director of the EEOC’s Miami District, added, “No one should be forced to choose between respecting their religious beliefs and obtaining a job when the company can accommodate those beliefs without suffering an undue hardship. We are hopeful that this resolution will prevent future qualified applicants from being denied employment because of their religious beliefs.”

EEOC, Property Management Company Settle Suit Over Firing of High-Risk Pregnant Employee

Mishandling a pregnant employee’s situation is fraught with legal risk, as this case shows.

Multi-South Management Services, LLC, a Memphis-based property management company, has agreed to pay $42,500 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging it failed to accommodate and then fired a pregnant employee with medical complications, the federal agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the employee, the community director of a large apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama, began having medical complications that made her high-risk for preterm labor. In January 2018, the same day Multi-South officially took over management of the complex, it fired her without warning or explanation. The employee, who had been employed in her position for over four years with no record of performance problems, was the only employee at the complex not retained by Multi-South. She was abruptly fired shortly after offering Multi-South’s management official a doctor’s note detailing her pregnancy-related limitations.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (Equal Employment Opportunity Com­mis­sion v. Multi-South Management Services, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-00740-RAH-WC) after first attempt­ing to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC sought back pay for the employee as well as compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

In addition to providing $42,500 in monetary relief, the thirty-month consent decree resolving the case prohibits Multi-South from discriminating against any applicant or employee due to sex (pregnancy) or disability in the future. Multi-South must also post a written notice to employees of their EEO rights, provide at least two trainings to all employees, and develop and communicate to all employees company policies designed to ensure a discrimination-free workplace.

“Employers must be aware of the intersection between the ADA and Title VII’s pregnancy discrimination prohibitions,” said Bradley Anderson, the EEOC’s district director for the Birmingham District Office. “This resolution should prompt all employers to review their anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation policies and practices to make sure they comply with both laws.”

“Employers should understand that pregnancy-related disabilities are covered by the ADA,” said EEOC Birmingham regional attorney Marsha Rucker. “An employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate an employee with pregnancy-related medical restrictions, and an employer must not fire an employee because of her pregnancy-related disability.”

One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan is to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the ADA and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties), and the Florida Panhandle.