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EEOC Resolves Lawsuit Claiming Employee Was Fired After Disclosing Her Pregnancy & Need For Leave

Young pregnant woman in suit at workplace, closeup

In a press release issued on November 13, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to resolve a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against Oatridge Security Group, Inc. (Oatridge). On September 23, 2019, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Oatridge Security Group, Inc.,Case No. 2:19-cv-01517, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Before commencing the court action, the EEOC initially endeavored to settle case through its voluntary conciliation process. Unable to resolve the case through its conciliation efforts, the EEOC elected to remedy the alleged unlawful employment practices through litigation.

In the Consent Decree, which was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik on November 11, 2020, Oatridge agreed to pay $375,000 to resolve the pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. In this article, our Ocala, Florida lawyers for pregnancy discrimination victims explain the EEOC’s allegations against Oatridge.

Federal Law Prohibits Pregnancy Discrimination

The EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), on behalf of a former employee of Oatridge, Sarah Olsen (Olsen). Under the PDA, employers are forbidden from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA’s amendment to Title VII clarified that discrimination based on pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination forbidden by Title VII. Under the PDA, employees are also protected from retaliation when they complain about perceived pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

The EEOC claims that Oatridge discriminated against Oslen in violation of the PDA by terminating her and failing to re-employ her on the basis of pregnancy. The EEOC further claims that Oatridge failed to re-employ Olsen in retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

Employee Claims Fired Because Of Pregnancy

In June 2016, Olsen began working for Oatridge as a security officer. In June 2017, Olsen was promoted to a shift supervisor position for the graveyard shift of the Seattle Tunnel Project. In late June or early July 2017, Olsen informed the Operations Manager that she was pregnant. The Operations Manager told Olsen that he did not think working security was proper for a pregnant woman and that here was a strong likelihood that she would lose her supervisory position. On July 12, 2017, Olsen told Oatridge that her medical care provider advised her to stop working immediately for the duration of her pregnancy. Olsen informed Oatridge that she would return to work as soon as possible. The following day, Oatridge terminated Olsen’s employment.

In September 2017, Olsen contacted Oatridge and sought to return to work. In September and October 2017, Olsen made multiple efforts to gain re-employment with Oatridge. In response to Olsen’s efforts to be re-employed, the Operations Manager told Olsen that he and the company were not comfortable with a pregnant woman working security and that he was not comfortable sending a pregnant woman to a particular location.

Employee Claims Unlawful Retaliation

On October 10, 2017, Olsen filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that Oatridge had discriminated against her on the basis of pregnancy. On October 17, 2017, the EEOC served Oatridge with notice of Olsen’s charge of discrimination. Shortly thereafter, the Operations Manager telephoned Olsen and told her that there was no way she would ever get a job at Oatridge again. The following day, the Operations Manager came to Olsen’s home and expressed anger at Olsen for filing the charge of discrimination. Based on these allegations, the EEOC claims that Oatridge refused to re-employ Olsen in retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that Oatridge discriminated against her on the basis of pregnancy.

Attorneys For Pregnancy Discrimination

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment laws making discrimination, harassment, and retaliation unlawful employment practices. As part of its statutory mission to remedy unlawful employment practices in the American workplace, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including pregnancy discrimination victims. In a press release issued by the EEOC on November 13, 2020 regarding the case, a Senior Trial Attorney for the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, Teri Healy, stated that “this worker was simply trying to do her job while supporting herself and her growing family.” “Being excluded from employment because of pregnancy,” Ms. Healy explained, “is against the law.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, Nancy Sienko, stated that “combating pregnancy discrimination is a top priority for the EEOC.” Ms. Sienko explained that “employers must take meaningful steps to ensure that such discrimination and negative stereotypes about female workers are not fostered.”

Ocala, FL Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida pregnancy discrimination attorneys have litigated pregnancy discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been fired because of pregnancy or have questions about your rights as a pregnancy discrimination victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida pregnancy discrimination lawyers. Our employment and labor law attorneys take pregnancy discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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