A company that fired a pregnant housekeeper in the Baltimore area has agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination claim filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The management services company will reportedly pay $25,000 in relief to the fired employee. It will also educate some of its supervisors about pregnancy discrimination to prevent additional instances.
The EEOC accused the company of firing the housekeeper after learning that she was pregnant. The firing happened after the woman reportedly told management that she was pregnant and asked to be relieved from using some cleaning chemicals on the job.
A manager then told her that she needed to turn in a doctor’s note to both confirm the pregnancy and clear her to work with the cleaning products. Her doctor refused to provide this, and the woman decided to just continue going about her regular job–at least, until the company decided to fire her.
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers do not have the right to fire women or treat them unfavorably on the basis of pregnancy. Furthermore, when a pregnant woman is temporarily unable to perform normal job duties due to a medical condition related to either pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must treat her in the same way that any temporarily disabled worker would be treated. Generally, this means that accommodations or alternative assignments must be made. In certain cases, leave should be granted.
In any case, federal law bars employers from mistreating workers because they are pregnant. Victims of pregnancy discrimination have the right to seek legal recourse.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Greystar Management Services Will Pay $25,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit,” June 17, 2014