Can An Employer Rescind A Job Offer When An Applicant Does Not Inform The Company She Was Pregnant?
Having dedicated their practice to fighting for victims of employment discrimination, our Citrus County, Florida employment law attorneys have learned that pregnant job applicants continue to face substantial disadvantages in their efforts to gain employment. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers cannot refuse to hire pregnant job applicants because of their pregnancy. The PDA does not prohibit an employer from asking a job applicant whether she is pregnant. However, if a pregnant job applicant is not hired, evidence that the employer asked the job applicant whether she is pregnant can be used to prove that she was not hired because of her pregnancy. Asking a job applicant whether she is pregnant reflects that the employer harbored discriminatory stereotypical beliefs about pregnancy, including the job applicant’s reliability, ability to work, or commitment to the job because of her pregnancy.
Although employers are not prohibited from asking a job applicant whether she is pregnant, if an employer does not ask a job applicant whether she is pregnant, a pregnant job applicant is not under a legal obligation to inform the employer that she is pregnant. In other words, if the employer does not ask, a pregnant job applicant is not legally required to disclose her pregnancy during the job application process. A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit recently settled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrates that an employer cannot use a pregnant job applicant’s failure to inform the company that she was pregnant during the application process as a basis to withdraw a job offer.
Pregnant Job Applicant’s Job Offer Withdrawn
In a press release issued on August 8, 2019, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Matrix Medical Network, LLC (Matrix). In the Consent Decree, Matrix agreed to pay $150,000 to settle the pregnancy discrimination case. On September 21, 2018, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, EEOC v. Community Care Health Network, Inc., d/b/a Matrix Medical Network, LLC, Case No. 1:18-cv-1609, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. The EEOC brought the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Patricia Pogue (Pogue). The EEOC claims that Matrix violated the PDA by withdrawing a job offer made to Pogue because she was pregnant.
EEOC’s Allegations Of Pregnancy Discrimination
In September 2015, Matrix, which is a nationwide health care company, posted a job opening for the position of Credentialing Manager. On September 20, 2015, Pogue submitted an application to Matrix for the position. Matrix then interviewed Pogue over the telephone for the position. After the telephone interview, Matrix invited Pogue to travel to Arizona for an in-person interview for the position. On October 12, 2015, Pogue traveled to Arizona and interviewed with several Matrix employees, including it Vice President of Credentialing. On November 2, 2015, Pogue traveled to Arizona for a second round of in-person interviews. On this occasion, Pogue was interviewed by the Chief Human Capital Officer and the Vice President of Recruiting.
After the second round of in-person interviews, Matrix offered the position to Pogue on November 10, 2015 over the telephone and via email. On November 10, 2015, after receiving the job offer, Pogue called Matrix back and informed Matrix that she was pregnant and that her due date was in February 2016. Pogue accepted the offer in writing on November 11, 2015. On November 18, 2015, Matrix emailed Pogue seeking her availability for a conference call. That same day, Pogue spoke with the Chief Human Capital Officer and Vice President of Credentialing by telephone. The Chief Human Capital Officer told Pogue that she was concerned that Pogue did not disclose her pregnancy during the job interviews. The Chief Human Capital Officer claimed that Pogue misled Matrix during the job interviews by failing to disclose her pregnancy. On November 19, 2015, Matrix informed Pogue that it was rescinding the job offer.
EEOC Protects Pregnant Employees
The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. In enforcing the federal anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of employment discrimination. In a press release issued by the EEOC regarding the case, a Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, Mary Jo O’Neill, stated that “[p]regnancy discrimination remains a major barrier for women in the workplace.” “More than 40 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” Ms. O’Neill added, “employers still choose not to hire pregnant applicants or to fire employees after learning they are pregnant.”
Free Consultation With Inverness Discrimination Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida employment discrimination attorneys have extensive experience litigating pregnancy discrimination cases in Florida state and federal courts. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination or have questions about your protection against pregnancy discrimination, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Citrus County, Florida employment discrimination lawyers. 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.