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Employer Issued “Orders” To Fire Employee Because She Was Pregnant EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges

Glad colleague seeing off pregnant boss

Having litigated pregnancy discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years, our Ocala, Florida pregnancy discrimination attorneys know that employers continue to target pregnant employees for termination. In some cases, employers tell pregnant employees they are acting in their best interest because of dangers to their health or the health of their unborn child. In other cases, employers tell pregnant employees that their pregnancy will adversely impact their job performance or work attendance. In terminating employees on the basis of pregnancy, employers erroneously believe they are allowed to use an employee’s pregnancy as a justification for employment decisions. In this article, our Marion County, Florida pregnancy discrimination lawyers explain how a recent pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) demonstrates that employers cannot use an employee’s pregnancy as a negative factor in employment decisions.

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

On May 10, 2021, the EEOC issued a press release announcing that it has entered into a Consent Decree settling a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against LogistiCare Solutions, LLC (LCS). On May 14, 2020, the EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. LogistiCare Solutions, LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-00852, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. In the Consent Decree, which was executed by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow on May 6, 2021, LCS agreed to pay $120,000 to resolve the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

Pregnant Employees’ Rights

The EEOC brought the pregnancy discrimination 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 LCS, Tiffany Lewis (Lewis). The PDA prohibits employers from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA also mandates that employers treat women affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. When an employer uses an employee’s pregnancy as a negative factor in an employment decision, such as demotion, promotion, or discharge, the employer has discriminated against the employee on the basis of pregnancy in violation of the PDA. The EEOC claims that LCS violated the PDA by terminating the employment of Lewis because of her pregnancy.

EEOC Claims Pregnancy Discrimination

HCM Staffing is a staffing agency that hires individuals and then places them with its client companies. When HCM Staffing places an individual with one of its client companies, such as LCS, the individual is an employee of HCM Staffing and a temporary employee of the client company. LCS is a non-emergency transportation brokerage company that operates 24-hour call centers. Because LCS is a client of HCM Staffing, HCM Staffing places temporary employees with LCS.

In June 2013, HCM Staffing hired Lewis. HCM Staffing then placed Lewis with LCS as a customer service representative at LCS’s call enter in Phoenix, Arizona. On September 11, 2013, Lewis began working for LCS. As a temporary employee of LCS, Lewis was scheduled to participate in a two-week training class for temporary employees. When the training class began, Lewis was approximately seven months pregnant and, thus, “visibly pregnant.” Lewis attended the training class from September 11, 2013, until September 16, 2013.

Employee Fired Because Of Pregnancy

On September 16, 2013, Lewis spoke with a recruiter from HCM Staffing. The recruiter told Lewis that her assignment with LCS was ending as a result of LCS’s low call volume. While seeking more information regarding the reason for her termination, Lewis was told by another customer service representative at LCS that she had heard another LCS employee reading aloud from the computer of the LCS employee, a man named Gauvin, who ran the training class for attended by Lewis. What the LCS employee had read aloud from Gauvin’s computer, the customer service representative informed Lewis, was that LCS fired Lewis because of her pregnancy.

After LCS terminated Lewis’s employment, an employee of HCM Staffing, a woman named Marcilones, had a meeting with Gauvin about the reason for Lewis’s discharge. Gauvin informed Marcilones that Lewis had been terminated because she would not be able to comply with LCS’s attendance policy because she was pregnant. Gauvin further declared that he had direct orders from an LCS Call Center Manager, a man named Hanley, to terminate Lewis because she was pregnant. Armed with this information, Marcilones then met with Hanley. During the meeting, Hanley told Marcilones that he had direct orders from LCS’s human resources department to fire Lewis because she was pregnant.

Lawyers For Discrimination Victims

The EEOC, which is an administrative agency of the federal government, is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the federal employment laws making discrimination, harassment, and retaliation unlawful employment practices. In seeking to protect and enforce employee rights guaranteed by the federal employment laws, the EEOC files lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including pregnancy discrimination victims.

In a press release issued by the EEOC on May 10, 2021, regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, Mary Jo O’Neill, explained that “more than 40 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers still discriminate against pregnant employees.” “Far too often,” Ms. O’Neill observed, “the EEOC sees employers explicitly referring to pregnancy when attempting to justify their decision to fire a pregnant employee or refusal to hire a pregnant employee.” “Employers must understand,” Ms. O’Neill added, “they cannot base their employment decisions on whether or not an employee or applicant is expecting.”

Ocala, FL Discrimination Attorneys

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida pregnancy discrimination lawyers have fought for the rights of pregnancy discrimination victims for more than two decades. If you have been discriminated against because of pregnancy or have questions about your rights as a pregnant employee, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida pregnancy discrimination attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take employment 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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