Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy discrimination’

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.”

All Smiles: Dental Practice to Change Ways, Pay $25K to Settle With the EEOC in Pregnancy Suit

Everyone is grinning after this dental practice discovered the error of its ways in dealing with pregnant employees.

Smiley Dental Walnut will pay $20,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Smiley Dental Walnut hired a new front desk receptionist in May 2017. When she disclosed her pregnancy to human resources approximately a month later, she was told that she needed to inform her supervisor. The EEOC said that when the front desk receptionist told her supervisor about her pregnancy, the supervisor became upset and stated that she would no longer train the new employee because she was going to be absent after giving birth. The supervisor fired the front desk receptionist during this conversation.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in the workplace, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Case No 3:18-CV-02552, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment. The EEOC sought back pay and other damages, as well as injunctive relief, including an order barring similar violations in the future.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit entered by U.S. District Judge Karen Gren Scholer on October 16, 2019 prohibits future discrimination and retaliation. In addition to the monetary relief, it requires the employer to provide annual training on pregnancy discrimination and other forms of discrimination. It also imposes discipline up to termination of any manager who discriminates based on pregnancy or permits such conduct to occur under his or her supervision. The decree also requires that Smiley Dental Walnut distribute and post a notice about discrimination based on sex and set forth procedures for reporting discrimination.

“It is important that employers understand that they cannot fire a woman at any stage of her employment simply because she is pregnant and will need maternity leave,” said Meaghan Kuelbs, senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “Even a new employee should feel comfort­able telling her employer that she is pregnant without fear that such a disclosure will cause her to be fired.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino added, “Education of employers to move past traditional assumptions about a pregnant employee’s perceived lack of value or productivity is key to preventing situations in which expectant mothers unfairly lose income at time they may need it most.”

The EEOC’s Dallas District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.

Bad Move: Storage Company Wouldn’t Hire Pregnant Woman for Packing Job, EEOC Alleges

If what federal investigators allege is true, then this moving company needs to pack up and throw away bad attitudes about pregnant women.

Quality Midwestern Holdings, LLC, doing business as Quality Services Moving, a moving and storage company headquartered in Lorton, Va., violated federal law by intention­ally denying employment opportunities based on pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on Sept. 27.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Quality Services Moving denied Reanna Robinson work as a packer on a moving crew because she was pregnant. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination, in employ­ment.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Quality Midwestern Holdings, LLC d/b/a Quality Services Moving, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-1251 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks monetary relief, including back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, for Ms. Robinson. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent future pregnancy discrimination, including an order for Quality Services Moving to institute policies, practices, and procedures that conform to the requirements of federal law.

“Women are entitled to be judged on their ability to do the work, not on a bias or stereotype based on their pregnancy,” said Mindy Weinstein, acting director for EEOC’s Washington Field Office.

“Denying employment opportunities to a woman because she is pregnant is unlawful under Title VII,” added Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office. “The EEOC is here to combat such discriminatory employment practices.”

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.

Pregnancy Bias Settlement Costs UPS $2.25M, Further Changes in Accommodations Policies

What can Brown deliver? Millions in settlement dollars to make whole women harmed by its pregnancy policies.

United Parcel Service, Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company, will pay $2.25 million and clarify its pregnancy accommodation policies to resolve a pregnancy discrimination charge that was investigated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.

Until 2015, when it changed its policy, UPS provided accommodations in the form of light duty assignments to UPS workers injured on the job, those with certain driving restrictions, and those with disabilities. However, UPS did not provide light duty work to pregnant employees. A UPS driver alleged that this failure to accommodate pregnant UPS workers by providing light duty assignments violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to expressly bar pregnancy discrimination. While that former driver resolved her individual charge with UPS, the EEOC’s investigation focused on other pregnant UPS workers who were not given light duty or other accommodations that would have permitted them to continue to work.

The conciliation agreement with the EEOC provides for payment to UPS workers who, between 2012 and 2014, suffered losses because they were not accommodated during pregnancy, primarily con­sisting of the difference between short-term disability payments they received and the amount they would have received if they had been allowed to work. While UPS voluntarily changed its policy in 2015 to allow light duty accommodations for pregnant, unionized employees, the agreement also clarifies that UPS’s obligation to accommodate pregnant workers extends to both unionized and non-unionized employees.

The agreement also clarifies that accommodations beside light duty may be appropriate, and that UPS’s accommodation obligation under the PDA extends to childbirth and related medical conditions. Finally, the agreement provides for training for human resources and supervisory employees on this revised policy, notifying employees on the policy, and reporting to the EEOC on pregnancy accommo­dation requests and com­plaints.

Current or former UPS workers who were pregnant while employed by UPS and who were not granted accommodations during the above-noted time period and who thus think they may have a claim should email their contact information (full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address) to UPS-Pregnancy@eeoc.gov by December 16, 2019.

“The EEOC commends UPS for agreeing to resolve this matter short of litigation by making whole UPS workers who were not accommo­dated during pregnancy under UPS’s previous policy,” said Kevin Berry, director of the EEOC’s New York District Office. “I also applaud UPS for confirm­ing that it will accommodate both union and non-union employees, and that accommodation may take forms other than light duty assignments.”

EEOC Recovers $40K for Pregnant Employee Denied Light-Duty Work by Hospital in Texas

This health care provider could have saved itself entanglement with the EEOC by the simple action of giving a pregnant employee light-duty jobs so she could continue working. But it instead it treated her differently than other employees with medical restrictions, so it got in trouble with the EEOC.

Nix Hospitals System, LLC, doing business as Nix Healthcare System, a provider of comprehensive medical services, including a full-service hospital and various medical facilities in San Antonio, has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced August 29

The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that Nix Hospital violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), by refusing to accommodate the employee’s pregnancy-related medical restrictions, resulting in her termination. According to the EEOC, the employee applied for two open desk positions which would have allowed her to work even with her medical restrictions, but Nix Hospital denied her such light-duty positions. Meanwhile, non-pregnant employees injured on the job with medical restrictions were granted light duty.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which is incorporated into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, makes discrimination based on pregnancy a form of sex discrimination. Under the PDA, employers are prohibited from engaging in discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including when employers refuse to accommodate a worker’s pregnancy-related medical conditions but do accommodate other workers similar in their ability or inability to work. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. Nix Hospitals System, LLC d/b/a Nix Healthcare System, Civil Action Number 5:18-cv-01004) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary recovery by the employee, the decree resolving this case and approved by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez requires the hospital to post a notice of intent to comply with Title VII and to provide training to employees of their rights under federal law. The consent decree also requires the hospital to revise its policy to ensure that it prohibits pregnancy discrimination including the accommodation of pregnancy-related conditions.

“We are pleased that this employer agreed to provide additional training for its human resources staff on sex and pregnancy discrimination,” said Trial Attorney Philip Moss of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “Nix will also revise its employment policies to better reflect the rights of employees who are pregnant.”

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, “A woman should not have to choose between her pregnancy and her job. Employers should not refuse to accommodate pregnant workers based on considerations of cost or convenience when they accommodate other workers who are similar in their ability to work.”

The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.

EEOC Sues for Pregnant Woman Fired Over “Non-negotiable” Doctor’s Note Requirement

Add this to the list of how not to handle an employee’s pregnancy: Make it a non-negotiable demand that she provide a doctor’s note to clear her to continue work.

Azul Wellness, LLC, doing business as Orlando Float, which provides massage therapy treatments, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 28.

According to the EEOC’s suit, after the employee informed the owners of Orlando Float that she was pregnant, they conditioned her return to work on her providing a note from her doctor. The owners insisted that the doctor’s note clearing her for work was “non-negotiable” and there was no flexibility with this policy, even though the employee was not requesting any accommodation. When the employee returned to work for her next scheduled shift, she was handed a termination letter dated three days after she informed Orlando Float about her pregnancy.

Firing an employee because of her pregnancy violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Azul Wellness, LLC, Case No. 19-cv-01689) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida only after first attempting 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.

“Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination continues to be a real problem in the workplace,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Employers cannot penalize women based on unfounded fears and discriminatory stereotypes about pregnancy.”

Evangeline Hawthorne, director of the EEOC’s Tampa Field Office, added, “Women should not have to choose between their job or having children. The EEOC will continue to fight for the right of women to be free from discrimination at work throughout their pregnancy.”

Policy Ousting Women After 5th Month of Pregnancy Rescinded in Lawsuit Settlement

Repeat after me: It’s for a pregnant woman to decide how long she works, NOT the employer.

A Plus Care Solutions, Inc., a supplier of direct professional caregivers to clients with disabilities, has agreed to pay $200,000 and furnish injunctive relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, since at least 2010, A Plus had required its female employees to sign a pregnancy policy during orientation. The policy provided that their employment terminated at the fifth month of pregnancy. The EEOC further alleged that A Plus enforced its policy against the charging party and several other women by terminating them due to their pregnancy, despite their ability to effectively perform their job duties.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which prohibits pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division (EEOC et al. v. A+ Care Solutions, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01188), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit was entered on August 28, 2019, and, in addition to providing monetary relief, enjoins A Plus going forward from removing pregnant employees from the work sched­ule because of their sex and pregnancy, or requiring pregnant employees to disclose their pregnancy. A Plus has also agreed to rescind its policy prohibiting women from working after their fifth month of pregnancy and issue letters of apology to the affected employees. The consent decree further requires the company to hire an equal employment opportunity consultant to review and revise the company’s policies and procedures; and train the company’s executives and human resources personnel on the requirements of Title VII and its prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination. A Plus will also post an anti-discrimination notice and permit the EEOC to monitor the company’s compliance with the consent decree.

“This case represents another example of the EEOC’s efforts to combat pregnancy discrimin­ation in our jurisdiction,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “We are happy that we were able to reach a quick resolution with A Plus, and that the company will take appropriate steps to ensure that its policies and procedures are in compliance with federal law.”

Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, said, “No woman should be fired simply because she becomes pregnant. The EEOC will continue to advance its mission of ensuring that workplaces are free of discrimination, including discrimination against pregnant mothers.”

The EEOC was represented in the litigation by Trial Attorney Jason Bailey. The underlying discrimination charge was investigated by EEOC Enforcement Supervisor William Brown and Investi­gator Candice Williams.

The Memphis District Office of the EEOC oversees Tennessee, Arkansas, and parts of Northern Mississippi.