September 3, 2011

AA Enterprises, Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $80,000

AA Enterprises, Inc. pays $80,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of four female employees. According to published accounts regarding the lawsuit, AA required the four females, who were pregnant to pay for their own medical expenses-while other non-pregnant employees did not have to.

In an even more troubling revelation, the pregnant women were threatened with a negative job action in the form of termination if they did not agree to pay for their own medical expenses. Two of the pregnant women ended up being fired after filing a complaint with the EEOC. This type of behavior is illegal and will get a company in trouble every time. In short, a female cannot be treated different just because she is pregnant.

“Pregnancy discrimination is a continuing problem in the CNMI,” said EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park.
June 9, 2011

Advance Industrial Fabrications, Inc. Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $35,000

Advance Industrial Fabrications, Inc. pays $35,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Elizabeth Courtney. The lawsuit was filed after the parties were unable to reach an initial settlement. According to published accounts Advance Industrial Fabrications discriminated against Courtney by firing her because of her pregnancy.

Courtney worked in the front office and was terminated within a month of disclosing her pregnancy status to the company’s president. The company said that Courtney was terminated due to a medical condition that prevented her from fulfilling the attendance requirement and therefore she was unable to perform her duties. Of course this excuse was ridiculous and the company ended up giving up on it and paying money to settle the discrimination lawsuit. I am glad Courtney hung in there and would not let the company discriminate against her.

“The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of Title VII prohibits employers from singling out pregnancy-related conditions in determining an employee’s ability to work,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
April 4, 2011

Murphy Healthcare III, LLC Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $30,000

There has been a rise in the number of pregnancy discrimination lawsuits my office is seeing. It seems like I am getting calls every day about women having adverse job actions taken against them at work once it becomes known they are pregnant. Here is a recent case that I wasn't involved with but it is interesting and illustrates my point. Murphy Healthcare III, LLC. agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Myesha Kerr.

Published accounts indicate that Kerr was fired after her supervisor learned that she was pregnant. Kerr worked as a housekeeper for the company and during discovery in the case the supervisor said he never would have hired Kerr had he known of her pregnancy, because he believed Kerr might injure herself by working. Sorry to break the news to you Mr. Supervisor but that is illegal and will cost the company you work for money every time you do it.

"The result of the employer’s actions in this case was to deprive a working mother of an income.” said EEOC atttorney Meaghan Shepard

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March 22, 2011

Wild Beaver Saloon Sued For Pregnancy Discrimination

The Wild Beaver Saloon is being sued for pregnancy discrimination because it unlawfully fired a female bartender/server because of her pregnancy. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after settlement talks broke down. Employers have to be mindful that once an employee gets pregnant, she just can't be fired for that reason. I am glad this female did not just go along with the program and instead filed a complaint with the EEOC.

In a case like this it is not uncommon to seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates against any employee. Over 90% of cases end up settling prior to trial so there is a good chance this case will settle as well. Many times along with filing a complaint of pregnancy discrimination there will be corresponding complaints of gender discrimination and retaliation.

“Employees who become pregnant should not lose their jobs because of their condition,” said EEOC attorney Laurie A. Young
March 15, 2011

Indiana Health Center Pays $45,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Indiana Health Center pays $45,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a female dental hygienist was fired because of her pregnancy and because she was scheduled to go on leave within days of her termination. This also became a case involving gender because men were treated different and therefore she suffered gender discrimination.

With a tight job market, more employers believe they can discard employees who are pregnant and just hire someone else. This case should set an example to employers that if they treat pregnant women different than other employees they may have to pay the price. This is a good illustration of what happens when you discriminate against an employee.

“Pregnancy discrimination continues to rise at an alarming rate,” said EEOC Attorney Laurie Young.
December 28, 2010

Crothall Healthcare Pays $88,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Crothall Healthcare, Inc pays $88,422 and reinstates a fired employee to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to court documents Crothall Healthcare fired a housekeeping employee after discovering that she was pregnant. This type of behavior is illegal and will usually result in a lawsuit. Employers seem to think that a pregnant employee can't do the same level of work that was performed prior to being pregnant.

In this case, the amount of money is probably double what the housekeeping employee was making per year so you can see how expensive this type of behavior is. Not only will Crothall have to pay over $88,000 but they will have to submit reports to the EEOC for two-years showing they are not engaging in discriminatory behavior. They will also have to provide training for employees and management so this type of activity does not happen in the future. Engaging is this type of treatment of an employee also forms a hostile work environment to all employees.

“Employers cannot refuse to allow women to work based on discriminatory stereotypes about pregnancy. They must treat pregnant women just as they would any other employee,” said Faye Williams, EEOC attorney.
December 5, 2010

Akai Security Pays $1.62 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuits

Akal Security pays $1.62 million to a class of 26 female security guards, settling a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Details which have been published claim Akal began a nationwide pattern and practice of forcing its pregnant employees, working as contract security guards on U.S. Army bases, to take leave and discharging them because of pregnancy. Akal also engaged in retaliation against one female by filing criminal charges against her because she filed a claim with the EEOC. That type of activity by a company is scarey and I am glad that the EEOC pursued this matter in an agressive fashion.

In addition to that type of behavior, Akal also created a hostile work environment by subjecting the women to less favorable terms and conditions of employment because of pregnancy, including preventing them from completing their annual physical agility and firearms tests or forcing them to take such tests before their certifications had expired. This type of large settlement should send a message to management that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and will be costly. To other companies that wish to hire Akal Security, I hope they will demand that any discrimination does not take place in the future.

“This is a very important settlement that will help protect an entire class of women from discrimination on account of pregnancy,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.
October 10, 2010

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $35,000

Better Family Life pays $35,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the pregnant woman. According to published accounts of the lawsuit, a company representative telephoned a former employee to offer her a job as an employment lead trainer. The woman was well qualified for the postion and was ready to accept employment. However while on the telephone the former employee told the representative that she was pregnant. The representative called back a few days later to rescind the job offer because of the former employee’s pregnancy. This is a clear violation of the law and resulted in the settlement.

“All employers, for-profit and non-profit companies alike, must comply with federal anti-discrimination statutes, including the law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.” said Barbara A. Seely, EEOC attorney.
September 22, 2010

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $130,000

Southwest Dental Group settles pregnancy discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $130,000. Published accounts claim that an upper-level member of management made inquiries during interviews of female applicants regarding their marital status; whether they were or planning to become pregnant; and if they had children. All of these questions are not appropriate and should not be asked during a job interview.

That was bad enough by also three former female employees were either demoted, discharged or forced to resign as a result of their pregnancies. This shows a clear pattern of discrimination by the company. One of those female employees was even discharged during her pregnancy. Another was demoted and ultimately discharged after she was unable to follow the manager’s instruction to take only two weeks of maternity leave following an unanticipated C-section. Upon return from maternity leave, a third female employee was forced to resign after she was demoted from her prior position of assistant manager to that of a clerk tasked with passing out flyers in a parking lot. When a person is forced to resign it is also referred to as a constructive discharge.

“The question of whether or not a woman is pregnant, wants to have children or already has them, cannot play a role in an employer’s decision to hire,” said Anna Park EEOC attorney.
August 1, 2010

Six Female Police Officers Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For Over $200,000

Six female police officers in Detroit settled their pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for over $200,000. As an additional term of the settlement, no employee or applicant will be asked if she is pregnant or anticipates being pregnant. Additionally the department cannot assign an officer to desk duty because she is pregnant unless she requests it or force her to go on unpaid leave.

The police officers alleged they were forced to go on sick leave, even if they could perform other duties. Five of the female officers said they were stuck at home without pay after exhausting sick leave. Many times it takes a case like this to change policy at a large corporation or government agency. In the future females who become pregnant will not have to endure this type of treatment.

July 8, 2010

Exterminator Pays $80,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Terminix International pays $80,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a pregnant female employee. Terminix fired the employee after forcing her to take medical leave. Once the female became pregnant she informed management about a medical restriction against handling pesticides. The company did honor the restriction for her but for only six weeks, and then they fired her.

The company claimed they had to fire her because they did not have enough work for her to perform with the restrictions. However after firing her Terminix hired two male employees to perform reinspections that the female technician could have performed. Another words, there was work she could have performed and instead of letting her work, they chose to fire her. The EEOC could have also filed gender discrimination charges against the company because the fired a female and hired two males to take her job.

“Pregnancy discrimination charges have nearly doubled since 1992,” said Faye Williams, attorney for the EEOC. “Many employers operate on the mistaken belief that they may treat pregnant employees differently by forcing them to take medical leave and then terminating them. This settlement should place employers on notice that pregnant employees may not be singled out for termination or forced medical leave.”
May 26, 2010

Two Transporation Companies Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit For $50,000

Amino Transport, Inc. and Chariot Express, Inc. will pay $50,000 to settle a retaliation, religious and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Joshua Male. According to the lawsuit Male’s employer engaged in retaliation firing him because he had complained about workplace comments being made by two coworkers. The lawsuit also claims Male complained to the human resources ("HR") manager about persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons, as well as workplace comments allegedly disparaging a pregnant female co-worker, women in general, and an African American.

The HR manager reported Male's complaints to the general manager of the facility, and Male was fired within less than 72 hours. This type of behavior is so obvious and it is amazing that companies still believe they can get away with treating people this way. It is nice to see people stand up for their rights and not let companies operate in this fashion.

“No one should lose his job for alerting human resources to inappropriate workplace behavior,” said EEOC attorney Jim Sacher.
May 23, 2010

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pays $250 Million In Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. must pay $250 million in punitive damages for a gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawsuit the company paid females less and failed to promote females that were pregnant. Treating pregnant females different than males or other females is illegal and called pregnancy discrimination. 5,600 eligible female class members could also be in line for compensatory damages as well as sharing in the punitive damages.

The Obama administration has taken a very aggressive stance on gender discrimination and equal pay issues. With huge jury verdicts like this, you can expect large companies to be taken to court if they are paying females workers less than their male counterparts. The downturn in the economy combined with social networking sites and online recruiting website allows people to follow pay issues more closely.

March 28, 2010

Baptist Church Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $53,000

Greenforest Community Baptist Church agrees to pay $53,000 to settle two pregnancy discrimination lawsuits. The lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Victoria Brown and Shuntal Prince. According to details in the lawsuit Greenforest violated federal law when it fired Prince and rescinded a job offer to Brown after learning they were pregnant. They company not only engaged in pregnancy discrimination but also retaliation.

In the case of Brown she already received an employment offer when she went for a follow-up meeting with the headmaster to discuss some final pre-employment matters before she was to begin her new job. During this meeting, Brown informed the headmaster that she was pregnant and the headmaster told her she would not be able to teach there because of her pregnancy. This is a clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the second case Prince was called into a meeting with the school’s director to discuss some concerns she had about Prince’s health. Although the context of the meeting seemed routine it was really a pretext for discussing Princes pregnancy. During the meeting, the director told Prince she heard rumors that Prince was pregnant. Prince confirmed that she was pregnant and the director fired her.

“Pregnant women have an equal right to participate in the work force,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

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March 27, 2010

White Way Cleaners Taken To The Cleaners In Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

White Way cleaners will pay $42,500 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in federal court by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Michelle Johnson. According to the lawsuit Johnson worked for the cleaners in the back and transferred to a counter position once she became pregnant. This transfer was part of a policy the cleaners had to allowing women to escape the smell of chemicals and work an easier job if they were pregnant.

The problem continued when Johnson was denied a raise, which she alleges she would have received if she were not pregnant. Additionally, Johnson began pregnant a second time and claims she was fired once she notified the cleaners of the second pregnancy. In this case the cleaners own policy shows they were discriminating against pregnant women. If a pregnant woman does not mind working in the back around chemicals, it should be of no concern to the company. The employee should have a choice in keeping the job they currently hold if they become pregnant.

“The U.S. Supreme Court held almost 20 years ago that an employer may not substitute its own judgment on an employee’s pregnancy for hers. The EEOC is dedicated to ensuring that women are not treated differently because they are or may become pregnant, and this case reminds employers of their obligations under the law.”

March 23, 2010

EEOC Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit With Imagine Schools For $570,000

Imagine Schools, Inc. pays $570,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in federal court. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Charity Brooks and LuShonda Smith after it became known they were pregnant. According to the lawsuit Imagine Schools failed to retain the two women after closing a middle school but opening another middle school and high school in the same area.

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is very sad that at this time in our history female workers are still being singled out and discriminated against. Large settlements like this should make employers take heed and stop this type of behavior. Many times employers believe they can get away with their behavior and it takes a lawsuit to stop them.

“Unfortunately, the EEOC keeps having to drive home the point that no woman should lose her means of earning a living simply because she is pregnant,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.
February 2, 2010

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $79,800

Margaret Gibson settled her pregnancy discrimination lawsuit with U.S. Security Associates for $79,880. The lawsuit was filed on Gibson's behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), which is charged with protecting the rights of employee who are the victims of discrimination in the workplace. According to court documents U.S. Security Associates subjected Gibson who was a security guard to pregnancy discrimination and then fired her in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination. In a remarkable series of events, U.S. Security Associates also fired her husband as part of the retaliation.

Details of the discrimination and civil rights violations were that Gibson was subjected to unwarranted discipline, sexist comments and mistreatment after she told her manager about the pregnancy. Allegedly, Gibson’s manager said a pregnant woman should be at home, not at work, and that Gibson’s focus should be on her children. These types of comments are from the dark ages and have place in the modern work place. In another shocking comment the manager also complained about Gibson’s pregnant appearance in the guard uniform.

Most cases of retaliation are proved with circumstantial evidence. In this case Gibson’s was fired the same day she turned in her paperwork for maternity leave. That is awful coincidental to be a coincidence. According to court documents U.S. Security Associates terminated her husband when he failed to stop his wife from filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC.

“The EEOC is dedicated to ensuring that employers treat all employees equally, regardless of gender, pregnancy status or association,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office.
December 6, 2009

Pregnant Corrections Officer Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Niagara County will pay $60,000 to Traci Haner to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawuist Haner was a female Niagara County Jail corrections officer who was kicked out of the Corrections Officer Academy because she was pregnant. According to the lawsuit Haner alleged she mentioned her pregnancy on a medical form she filled out when entering the academy and was dismissed from classes 10 days later.

The lawsuit alleges Haner offered to obtain a doctor’s release allowing her to take part in training at the academy but the County refused saying she was a liability. The remarkable portion of this lawsuit is that after they dismissed her from the academy they assigned to her a full-time job that involved direct contact with inmates. In her lawsuit Haner contends that county policy calls for pregnant corrections officers to be placed on light duty work and have no contact with inmates. She alleges the County engaged in pregnancy discrimination by the conduct which violated her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

December 1, 2009

Japanese Restaurant Pays $30,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Tepanyaki a Japanese restaurant will pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Alison Woodbury. According to the lawsuit Tepanyaki discriminated against Woodbury by firing her because she was pregnant. According to court records, Woodbury was hired as a server and during her initial training Tepanyaki learned she was pregnant and terminated her, which is retaliation.

It is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to discrimination against a pregnant person. Many times companies will try to make up reasons to fire a worker once she becomes pregnant and it is important for the worker to protect her rights.

"Under federal law, employers must permit pregnant employees to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs," said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "All workers, including pregnant employees, deserve fairness in the workplace. Women should not lose employment opportunities because of pregnancy."

September 21, 2009

EEOC Report Shows Increase in Discrimination Lawsuits

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released its' report for 2008 and it shwos there were 16,752 complaints alleging employment discrimination– up 2.4 percent from the prior year. These complaints are allegations against government agencies only and do not include complaints against private companies. The complaints were filed against federal agencies on the basis of retaliation, gender, race, national origin, religion and age.

Other interesting statistics in the report include of 7,538 cases closed on the merits, 2.5% resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. Both parties entered into settlements in 19.5 % or 3,249 complaints. Agencies awarded a total of over $50 million in monetary benefits to complainants for unlawful discrimination.

“Federal agencies must step up their efforts to improve complaint processing time, while also focusing on quality results,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “

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September 18, 2009

New Illinois Law Takes Affect January 1, 2010 Adding Additional Discrimination Protections

The Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") also known as, 775 ILCS 5/1-101 will now offer protection to individuals who have an order of protection. Starting at the first of the year it will be considered unlawful discrimination, based on order of protection status, to take any negative job action on an individual if they have an order of protection and there is no legitimate business reason for the negative job action.

This new law adds order of protection status to the current protected classifications of religion, age, race, national origin, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service. The initial charge would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in either Chicago or Springfield.

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August 3, 2009

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Discrimination Cases With The EEOC

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, will pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuits alleged the company violated federal law regarding retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law. The EEOC alleged that the employer retaliated against 14 Filipino and Bangladeshi workers when it terminated them because they filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC.

The allegations in the case also included that Bangladeshi security guards were being treated differently than Nepalese with respect to assignment of overtime hours, work location, and housing. Further, the EEOC said the defendants discriminated on the basis of national origin by providing different amounts of benefits to Nepalese, Chinese, Filipino and Bangladeshi employees, and failed to conduct any investigation regarding the claimants’ allegations. Within two or three months after the charge was filed with the EEOC, the defendants unlawfully retaliated against the workers by failing to renew their contracts.

“This major settlement shows that the EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of all workers, within every reach of our jurisdiction, to be free of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The resolutions of these egregious cases bring a measure of justice to the many workers who were retaliated against and otherwise victimized by discriminatory employment practices because of their national origin, age, or pregnancy.”

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July 2, 2009

University of Phoenix Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $32,500

The University of Phoenix will pay former employee Latrish Elaine Tarhini $32,500 as part of a settlement of a pregnancy discrimination claim. Tarhini, who worked as enrollment counselor at the school’s Houston campus, claimed that University of Phoenix management said she would not be in line for a promotion because she made an earlier pregnancy discrimination claim against the Phoenix-based company and its parent, Apollo Group Inc. This is a form of retaliation and is unlawful. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against the University of Phoenix on behalf of Tarhini in September 2008 in federal court, claiming the university violated retaliation statutes of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is a violation of federal law to discriminate against employees who previously filed discrimination claims against their employers.

In the settlement, the University of Phoenix admitted no wrongdoing or liability, according to a statement provided to the Phoenix Business Journal. The “University of Phoenix is pleased to have resolved this matter. We are dedicated to providing a work environment in which our employees are treated fairly and with respect, and are recognized and rewarded based on their accomplishments. University of Phoenix is committed to providing equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind,” the university statement read.