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Pregnant Worker Wrongfully Fired After Denied Same Leave As Non-Pregnant Workers EEOC Lawsuit Asserts

Against the background of the flag of the USA lies a notebook with the inscription - PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION ACT

For more than twenty years, our Ocala, Florida wrongful termination attorneys have fought for the rights of Florida employees who have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination. Having represented pregnancy discrimination victims for more than two decades, our Marion County, Florida wrongful termination lawyers know that employers often treat pregnant employees differently and less favorably from non-pregnant employees. In far too many cases, our Ocala, Florida wrongful termination attorneys have learned, pregnant employees are denied benefits afforded to non-pregnant employees. In this article, our Ocala, Florida wrongful termination lawyers explain how a recent pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) demonstrates that the federal discrimination laws protect pregnant employees when they are treated differently and less favorably from non-pregnant employees.

Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

In a press release issued on May 20, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against AAC Dallas Outpatient Center, LLC, d/b/a Greenhouse Outpatient Center (Greenhouse). On September 27, 2019, the EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Addiction Centers, Inc. & AAC Dallas Outpatient Center, LLC, Case No. 3:19-cv-02302, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Fitzwater on May 19, 2021, Greenhouse agreed to pay $146,613 to resolve the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

In a press release issued on May 20, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against AAC Dallas Outpatient Center, LLC, d/b/a Greenhouse Outpatient Center (Greenhouse). On September 27, 2019, the EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. American Addiction Centers, Inc. & AAC Dallas Outpatient Center, LLC, Case No. 3:19-cv-02302, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Fitzwater on May 19, 2021, Greenhouse agreed to pay $146,613 to resolve the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

Wrongful Termination Based On Pregnancy

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 Greenhouse, Stefanie Armstrong (Armstrong). The PDA forbids employers from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Under the PDA, employers are obligated 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. In other words, the PDA mandates that employers treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees.

An employer’s obligation under the PDA 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 means that if an employer accommodates non-pregnant employees who are unable to work, then the employer must provide the same accommodation to women who are unable to work because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Thus, if an employer affords non-pregnant employees who are unable to work a leave of absence, then the employer must also provide women who are unable to work because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions with the same leave of absence. If an employer in such circumstances denies a woman affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same leave of absence afforded to non-pregnant employees, and uses the woman’s inability to work as a basis to terminate her employment, the employer has wrongfully terminated her on the basis of pregnancy in violation of the PDA.

Pregnant Worker Claims Wrongful Termination

In October 2015, Armstrong was hired to work at Greenhouse as a behavioral health technician. In February 2016, Armstrong asked Greenhouse’s HR Director for information about how to submit a request for maternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The HR Director told Armstrong that she was not eligible for FMLA leave until October 2016.

On April 30, 2016, Greenhouse granted Armstrong a leave of absence from May 1, 2016 until May 30, 2016 for childbirth. Armstrong gave birth by emergency cesarean section on May 1, 2016. On May 26, 2016, Armstrong told the HR Director that he doctor had instructed her to take an additional thirty days of leave in order to recover from the cesarean section. On May 27, 2016, Armstrong was notified by the HR Director that her position could not be held open past May 30, 2016.

On May 30, 2016, Greenhouse fired Armstrong because she was unable to return to work upon expiration of her thirty-day leave of absence. Although Greenhouse refused to grant Armstrong leave beyond thirty days, the EEOC claims that Greenhouse afforded non-pregnant employees who were unable to work a leave of absence beyond thirty days. Thus, the EEOC contends that Greenhouse treated Armstrong differently and less favorably from non-pregnant employees. Instead of treating Armstrong the same as non-pregnant employees and affording her leave beyond thirty days when she was unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, Greenhouse summarily fired Armstrong. The difference in treatment, the EEOC maintains, demonstrates that Armstrong was wrongfully terminated on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in violation of the PDA.

Helping Wrongful Termination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing the federal employment laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In order to deter employers from engaging in unlawful discriminatory employment practices, the EEOC files lawsuits on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including pregnancy discrimination victims. In a press release issued by the EEOC on May 20, 2021 regarding the case, a a senior trial attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, Meaghan Kuelbs, stated that “it is important that employers understand that pregnant employees must be given the same benefits as non-pregnant employees.”

Ocala, FL Wrongful Termination Attorneys

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida wrongful termination lawyers have litigated pregnancy discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been discriminated against because of pregnancy or have questions about your rights as a pregnant employee under the federal discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida wrongful termination lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes wrongful termination 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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