Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy discrimination’

EEOC: Light Duty Denial to Pregnant Employee by Medical Transport Co. Was Rights Violation

This employer needs to brush up on the law regarding job accommodations for pregnant women.

Rural/Metro Corporation of Florida, doing business as American Medical Response (AMR), a Florida company that provides emergency and non-emergency medical transport in the Orlando area, violated federal law by refusing to accommodate an employee with a pregnancy-related disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Monday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the employee worked for AMR as an emergency medical technician when she was pregnant. When the employee began experiencing severe medical com­plications, including hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness that may include nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration), she asked AMR for light duty as a reasonable accommodation.

However, even though AMR accommodates employees who are temporarily unable to perform their regular duties, AMR refused to accommodate her because its policy was limited to employees with occupational injuries or illnesses. Instead, AMR told her, “if you can’t get on the truck, you have to fill out your FMLA,” the EEOC said. AMR also refused to allow her to receive cross-training while she was on leave.

Such alleged conduct violates both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division (EEOC v. Rural Metro Corp. d/b/a American Medical Response, Case No. 6:20-cv-01678) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its concili­ation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief such as employee training on discrimination laws.

“Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to accommodate pregnant employees where they accommodate others who are similar in their ability or inability to work,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District. “When the employee also suffers from pregnancy-related complications that rise to the level of a disa­bility, the employer is under an additional obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.”

Bradley Anderson, acting district director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “Employers must not discriminate against either pregnant women or people with disabilities who request accommodation. Pregnant women should not be deprived of the right to work and earn an income.”

Not Nice: Florida Software Company Forced Pregnant Employee to Resign, EEOC Alleges

After this employee told her boss she was pregnant, it was all downhill, according to civil rights investigators.

NICE Systems, Inc., a software company, which provides software for customer experience, regulatory compliance, and financial crime prevention, violated federal law by paying an employee less, retaliating against her, and forcing her to resign because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, after the employee informed her supervisor that she was pregnant he stopped assigning her sales leads and denied her commission payments. When she complained, NICE Systems, Inc. retaliated against her and asked her to “stop being so emotional.” Upon her return from pregnancy leave, her lucrative sales territory was taken away from her and she was reassigned a new sales territory with little-to-no existing clients for her sales product.  NICE Systems, Inc. did nothing to address her complaints and she was forced to resign.

Reducing an employee’s pay, retaliating against her, and forcing her to resign because of her pregnancy violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. NICE Systems, Inc., Case No. 9:20-cv-81021) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida only after exhausting its conciliation efforts to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement.  The agency is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the employee, as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent any further discriminatory practices.

“Becoming pregnant should not derail a woman’s career,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Although maternity leave is a comparatively small amount of time in a woman’s overall career span, many companies still take a short-sighted approach, failing to value the contributions women bring to the workplace.”

Bradley Anderson, acting district director of the EEOC’s Miami’s District Office, added, “in corporate offices, we often see that the discrimination is more subtle—but just as damaging—to a woman’s career.  The EEOC will continue to fight on behalf of pregnant employees so that women can make decisions about having children without fear of negative consequences at work.”

EEOC Sues Staffing Co., Client Following Ouster of Pregnant Women From a Training Program

A staffing company and call center are jointly liable for negating employment opportunities for pregnant women, federal authorities have charged.

Phoenix call center LogistiCare Solutions LLC violated federal law when it fired temporary employees placed by a staffing company because they were pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Friday May 1. The EEOC also charged that the staffing company, Human Capital Management, Inc., doing business as HCM Staffing, violated federal law when it did not take appropriate corrective action after it learned that LogistiCare terminated its employees because of their pregnancies.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, HCM Staffing placed Tiffany Lewis and at least one other pregnant employee at LogistiCare as Customer Service Representatives. These workers were in a training class for one week before LogistiCare fired them. LogistiCare assumed that they would not be able to comply with its attendance policy because of their pregnancies. HCM Staffing knew why LogistiCare terminated these employees, but complied with LogistiCare’s decision and continued placing employees with LogistiCare, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (EEOC v. LogistiCare Solutions, LLC and Human Capital Management, Inc. dba HCM Staffing, Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-00852-GMS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensa­tory damages, and punitive damages for the charging party and other aggrieved individuals as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discriminatory practices in the future.

“Employers should not make employment decisions based on assumptions about what pregnant employees can and cannot do,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “Pregnancy discrimination remains a significant barrier for women in the workplace, and the EEOC will always be dedicated to fighting it.”

Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “Staffing companies cannot simply go along with the actions of their client companies, regardless of whether they violate the law. If they do, they may be liable for violations committed by their clients.”

EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

Therapeutic: Orlando Company Must Change Pregnancy Policies in Settling EEOC Bias Case

Employers don’t get to decide when pregnant employees can work. That’s the message in this latest pregnancy discrimination case.

Azul Wellness, LLC, doing business as Orlando Float, and Orlando massage therapy company, will pay $27,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency an­nounced Monday. The EEOC charged that Orlando Float fired an employee because of her pregnancy.

The EEOC charged that Orlando Float required all pregnant employees to obtain a doctor’s note, regardless of whether the employee was requesting any accommodation in her job duties, responsi­bil­ities or schedule. It was the employer’s position that providing massages might be a safety risk for pregnant women and their unborn children. When the employee expressed concern over having to submit a doctor’s note, she was terminated on her next scheduled shift.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed its suit lawsuit (Civil Action No. 19-cv-01689) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the five-year consent decree settling the suit contains substantial equitable relief, including prohibitions against unlawful discrimination; an injunction prohibiting Orlando Float from continuing to require a doctor’s note from all pregnant employees; four hours of annual, live training for all management and human resources personnel; new policies that prohibit discrimination; bi-annual reporting on any employee who reports pregnancy discrimination; changes to its job advertisement and application materials; and the posting of a notice regarding this settlement.

“This case is an important reminder of the Supreme Court’s holding that the decision whether a pregnant woman should work rests solely with her,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the Miami District Office. “She, and not the employer, is responsible for making decisions that affect her safety and that of her child.”

Evangeline Hawthorne, director of the EEOC’s Tampa Field Office, added, “The EEOC com­mends Orlando Float for its cooperation in resolving this case and for taking steps to ensure that other women in the workplace will not be forced to choose between parenthood and a livelihood.”

Back Pay, Sterner Protections Included in EEOC Settlement for a Fired Pregnant Store Manager

What pregnancy complications could keep a junior assistant manager from doing her job at a specialty clothing store? That’s a question this employer would have had trouble answering at trial.

Rainbow USA, Inc. (Rainbow), a specialty apparel chain doing business in the Chalmette, Louisiana area, agreed to pay $11,000 in back pay to settle a federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last Friday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a junior assistant manager in her first trimester of pregnancy, was indefinitely suspended and two days later was fired after the company learned of her pregnancy-related restrictions.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No.  2:18-cv-09007) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to backpay, the consent decree provides non-monetary relief, including an injunction prohibiting any future discrimination. Rainbow also agreed to maintain an effective anti-discrimination policy to protect all employees from any form of discrimination and requires that Rainbow provide training on its policy and Title VII’s prohibitions, particularly pregnancy discrimination. Rainbow also will report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree and post a notice for the employees and/or applicants to be aware of their rights.

“No one should have to decide between having a family and having a job, ” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for EEOC’s New Orleans and Houston offices. “The non-monetary provisions of the decree are intended to protect pregnant employees, especially those who have medical conditions related to their pregnancy.”

Restaurant Removes EEOC Suit From Menu With $18K Payment Benefiting Fired Pregnant Worker

Before closing down for the day due to falling snow, the EEOC took to task yet another employer over its treatment of a pregnant worker.

Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Encinitas, Calif., has agreed to pay $18,800 and provide injunctive relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, after a female employee notified Maurizio Trattoria Italiana of her pregnancy, the restaurant reduced her hours, resulting in substantially less pay. The EEOC further contends that the restaurant refused to return the employee to her server position after she gave birth, instead firing her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC, Case No. 18-cv-338-MMA (BLM)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing future pregnancy discrimination. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana has agreed to review and to revise its policies and procedures regarding compliance with Title VII and the PDA. Additionally, the company has agreed to provide training in employment discrimination laws, including laws against pregnancy discrimination, and employees’ rights to employment upon return of a leave taken due to pregnancy, childbirth and/or related medical conditions. The court will maintain jurisdiction of the case for duration of the four-and-a-half-year decree.

“We commend Maurizio Trattoria Italiana for agreeing to comprehensive injunctive remedies that are intended to prevent future pregnancy discrimination,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes San Diego in its jurisdiction. “The EEOC continues to see pregnancy discrimination as an ongoing problem. We encourage other employers to follow suit and review their policies and practices relating to pregnancy discrimination to ensure they are in compliance with federal law.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office, said, “Women should not be penalized for having children. The EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of pregnant employees.”

One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the EEOC to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the PDA.

New Hire Had Job Taken Away at Assisted Living Because She Was Pregnant, EEOC Alleges in Suit

You’d think in this day and age an employer would know better than to deny a woman a job because she is pregnant; worse yet to take away a job she was already hired for.

Think again.

Excel Hospitality Group LLC d/b/a Regency Park Assisted Living & Memorial Care, an assisted living facility in Eustis, Florida, violated federal law by rescinding a woman’s job offer upon learning she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed November 21

According to the EEOC’s suit, Regency Park offered a woman a position as a certified nurse assistant in May 2018.  While filling out her new hire paperwork, the woman mentioned to a Regency Park employee that she was pregnant.  On her anticipated start date, a Regency Park manager told the new hire that she had learned about her pregnancy and was concerned about her work attendance.  Another manager later informed her that Regency Park decided to go with someone else for the position.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division (EEOC v. Excel Hospitality Group LLC, Case No. 5:19-cv-00591) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the applicant. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent and correct pregnancy discrimination and training of Regency Park’s managers and supervisors about federal equal employment opportunity laws.

“This case underscores the need for EEOC to continue its vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect all women from harmful discrimination,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District.

The EEOC’s Tampa Field Office director, Evangeline Hawthorne, added, “A woman should feel comfortable telling an employer she is pregnant without fear that such a disclosure will cause her to lose her job. The EEOC remains steadfast in its commitment to take legal action against those who engage in such unlawful tactics.”

Heavy Lifting: Care Center Pays $170K to Settle Pregnancy Bias Suit Over Denial of Light Duty

Here’s another resolution for employers as we enter 2020. Know the rules on light-duty assignments for pregnant workers!

Geriatric care giant Life Care Centers of America, Inc. and its affiliate, South Hill Operations, LLC, doing business as “Life Care Center of South Hill,” will pay $170,000 to a former employee to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.

The employee worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for Life Care Centers in Puyallup, Washington. According to the EEOC’s suit, Life Care refused to accommodate her request not to lift anything heavier than 15lbs. for the last part of her pregnancy.  Stating that Life Care only provided light duty to employees injured on the job, the company placed her on involuntary, unpaid leave.  The EEOC also alleged Life Care supervisors told her to reapply for a CNA job once she was ready to return to unrestricted duty, which she understood to mean that she was fired.

Denying light duty to a pregnant employee while providing it to similarly-abled non-pregnant employees may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII) and The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).  The EEOC filedsuit (EEOC vLife Care Centers of America, Inc. and South Hill Operations LLC d/b/a Life Care Center of South Hill in Puyallup, No. 2:18-cv-01411-RAJ) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with Life Care through conciliation.

Under the three-year consent decree, Life Care agrees to pay the employee $170,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages and provide training on Title VII and the PDA to all employees, including management and supervisors at its Washington state facilities, and human resources staff that advise them.

“An employer may not reject an employee’s request for pregnancy-related work restrictions if the same employer is granting the light duty request of a non-pregnant employee,” said Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office. “This suit serves to remind employers of that obligation.”

“One of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including accommodating pregnancy-related limitations,” noted EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney John Stanley.  “We are encouraged that Life Care will take affirmative steps to implement policies and training that ensure employees with pregnancy-related work restrictions have their light duty requests properly considered.”

According to company information, Life Care Centers is a nationwide network of over 236 geriatric health care service providers with operations in over 35 states, and had over $10.3 million in net sales in 2015, the year in which the employee last worked for the co-defendants in Puyallup.

EEOC Recovers $30K for Pregnant Nursing Aide Denied Job Accommodation at N.C. Rehab Center

Employers should know by now that the law requires they accommodate pregnant workers when they also would accommodate nonpregnant workers for illness or injury.

Century Care of Laurinburg, Inc. d/b/a Scottish Pines Rehabilitation & Nursing Center (Scottish Pines), a North Carolina company based in Cary, has agreed to pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Scottish Pines offered transitional duty or other job modifications to accommodate restrictions of employees with work-related injuries or illnesses, but not to employees with pregnancy-related restrictions.  EEOC alleged that the company refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related 50-pound lifting restriction of certified nursing assistant Mary Jacobs, but instead placed her on unpaid leave and terminated her employment when she could not return to work without restrictions.  EEOC further alleged that the company refused to accommodate a 20-pound lifting restriction of another pregnant certified nursing assistant, Laketa Watts, and also terminated her employment when she could not return to work without restrictions.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees due to pregnancy, including pregnancy-related conditions. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Century Care of Laurinburg, Inc. d/b/a Scottish Pines Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Civil Action No 1:18-cv-00170), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary concil­iation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief to Jacobs and Watts, Scottish Pines entered a 30-month consent decree, which requires it to, among other things, adopt and implement a written policy to treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same as non-pregnant persons similar in their ability or inability to work, including providing modified duty. The decree further requires the company to conduct training on pregnancy discrimination for its employees, post EEO notices, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC.

“Federal law requires employers to treat the work restrictions of pregnant employees the same as those of non-pregnant employees, including with respect to modified duty policies,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Companies may not violate Title VII when they decide which employees they will and will not accommodate.”

One of the national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the Commission to address selected emerging and developing workplace issues. This includes accommodating pregnancy-related limitations.

N.M. Restaurant to Pay $32K, Get Straight on EEO, in Settlement Over Ousted Pregnant Worker

It’s a new day for pregnant workers at this New Mexico restaurant–hopefully, one for the better. And maybe for all workers there.

An Albuquerque Mexican seafood restaurant will pay $32,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination charge brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a voluntary conciliation agreement, the federal agency announced Tuesday.

Following an investigation by the Albuquerque EEOC office, the federal agency found that it was probable that Mariscos La Playa Inc. violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrim­ina­tion Act (PDA) by reducing the complainant’s work hours and subsequently firing her because of her pregnancy.

Without admitting liability, Mariscos La Playa agreed to enter into a four-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC by paying $32,000 to compensate the complainant. In addition to the monetary settlement, the company has agreed to hire a consultant to assist with creating policies, including preserv­ing employment and personnel records, and training all employees to ensure compliance with Title VII and PDA.

“Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal and economically counterproductive,” said Elizabeth Cadle, district director for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “We commend Mariscos La Playa for working with us toward this positive resolution.”