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Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Claiming Pregnant Worker Denied Light Duty Settled By EEOC

pregnant businesswoman with tablet pc at office

On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc. (AMR). On July 25, 2019, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc., Case No. 2:19-cv-00258, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Before commencing legal proceedings in federal court, the EEOC first endeavored to settle the case through its statutory mandated conciliation efforts. Unable to resolve the case through its conciliation efforts, the EEOC exercised its statutory right to address the alleged unlawful discriminatory employment practices by filing the lawsuit.

In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson on December 18, 2020, AMR agreed to pay $162,500 to resolve the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. In this article, our Ocala, Florida lawyers for pregnancy discrimination victims explain the EEOC’s allegations of discriminatory employment practices against AMR.

Legal Rights For Pregnant Workers

The EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit under 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 AMR, Katherine Hall (Hall). Under the PDA, employers are forbidden from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA also requires employers to treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. This means that employers must provide pregnant employees with the same accommodations, such as light duty work, that they provide to non-pregnant employees. The EEOC alleges that AMR violated the PDA by refusing to accommodate Hall’s pregnancy-related restrictions, while accommodating other non-pregnant employees who were similar in their ability or inability to work.

Worker Claims Pregnancy Discrimination

AMR is a medical transportation company that provides community-based medical transportation services. In June 2014, Hall began working for AMR at its facility in Spokane, Washington. In December 2016, Hall became pregnant. On June 30, 2017, Hall requested a pregnancy-related accommodation. At that time, Hall was working as a Paramedic and Field Training Officer. Hall provided AMR with a note from her doctor advising AMR that Hall was restricted to light duty work, including a twenty pound lifting restriction and shifts no longer than twelve hours. That same day, AMR’s Regional Director denied Hall’s request for a pregnancy-related accommodation. The Regional Director informed Hall that there was no alternative work available at the time and further informed Hall that due to her work restrictions, she would need to take a medical leave of absence.

Hall could not afford being placed on unpaid leave. Later that same day on June 30, 2017, Hall provided AMR with a revised note from her doctor which only restricted her from working shifts longer than twelve hours. On July 3, 2017, AMR again denied Hall’s request for an accommodation. Instead, AMR’s Operations Manager instructed Hall to get another doctor’s note that cleared Hall to work full duty. The EEOC claims that AMR was required to provide Hall with the requested pregnancy-related accommodations because AMR provided non-pregnant employees who were injured on the job with light duty work or other job modifications. In accommodating non-pregnant employees with light duty work, the EEOC contends, AMR was required to provide Hall with the same accommodation. In refusing to do so and instructing Hall to take a medical leave of absence, the EEOC maintains, AMR engaged in unlawful pregnancy discrimination in violation of the PDA.

Lawyers For Pregnancy Discrimination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States charged with interpreting and enforcing federal employment and labor laws making pregnancy discrimination an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. In seeking to advance equal employment opportunity in the American workplace, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of employees who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination , including employees subjected to unlawful discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

In a press release issued by the EEOC on December 29, 2020 regarding the case, a senior trial attorney for the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, May Che, explained that “an employer must accommodate pregnant employees to the same extent that it accommodates other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.” “Pregnant workers should not be forced to chose between losing the ability to make a living,” Ms. Che added, “and risking the health and safety of their baby by being required to work without accommodation.” In commenting on the case, the Deputy Director of the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, Nancy Sienko, observed that “pregnancy discrimination continues to be a persistent problem in the American workforce.” “Combating such unlawful conduct,” Ms. Sienko stated, “is a top priority for the EEOC and we will continue working to prevent and remedy it.”

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers In Ocala, FL

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida attorneys for pregnancy discrimination victims have fought for the rights of pregnant employees for more than twenty years. If you have been denied equal employment opportunities because of pregnancy or have questions about your rights as a pregnant employee under the federal anti-discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida lawyers for pregnancy discrimination victims. Our employee rights law firm takes 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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