PREGNANCY POLICY COSTS COMPANY $200K
A Tennessee-based professional caregiving company has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a former employee. The EEOC filed suit alleging the company’s policy regarding pregnant employees violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions.
According to the EEOC, A Plus Care Solutions, Inc., a supplier of professional caregivers for individuals with disabilities, had a policy of terminating pregnant employees once they reached a certain point in their pregnancy. This policy wasn’t implied by the company’s conduct; it was explicitly written in company policy.
Since at least 2010, the company required it’s female employees to sign a policy during orientation that allegedly stated that if they were to get pregnant, their employment would terminate when they reached their fifth month of pregnancy. The company enforced this policy against several female employees, despite their ability to effectively perform their job duties while pregnant.
In addition to the $200,000 in monetary relief the company had to pay, the two-year consent decree also prohibits the company from removing pregnant employees from the work schedule due to the pregnancy or requiring pregnant employees to disclose their pregnancy. The company also agreed to rescind the pregnancy policy and issue letters of apology to all affected employees.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, makes it clear that discrimination against applicants for employment or employees on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions constitutes illegal sex discrimination. Additionally, while pregnancy itself is not generally considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, certain conditions — like gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, etc. — may be considered a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which is very broad). If pregnant employees are able to continue to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without an accommodation, they must be permitted to do so.
In addition to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Nevada employers are also subject to the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act, which provides certain protections for pregnant employees and certain obligations for Nevada employers. For more information on these protections and employer obligations, members can download the Fact Sheet on the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act from our Member Portal.
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