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Worker Fired Because She Was “Expecting A Baby” EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges

pregnant business woman in the office

Having represented employment discrimination victims for more than two decades, our Citrus County, Florida discrimination lawyers know that pregnant employees continue to endure systemic discrimination. In far too many cases, our Inverness, Florida discrimination attorneys have learned, pregnant employees who are able to do their job are terminated because of their pregnancy. Indeed, many employers seemingly believe that it makes good business sense to terminate pregnant employees. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida discrimination lawyers explain how the alleged facts in a recent pregnancy discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are illustrative of the systemic discrimination that pregnant employees continue to endure in violation of federal employment discrimination law.

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

On September 10, 2021, the EEOC issued a press release announcing that it has filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against Bourne’s House, LLC (Bourne’s House). On September 8, 2021, the EEOC filed the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Bourne’s House, LLC, Case No. 21-cv-01665, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after first attempting to resolve the alleged unlawful employment discriminatory practices through its conciliation program.

The EEOC has brought 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 an individual who applied for employment with Bourne’s House, a woman named Gerald. The EEOC claims that Bourne’s House violated the PDA by terminating and then refusing to rehire Gerald because she was pregnant.

Protection Against Pregnancy Discrimination

The PDA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of pregnancy. Under the PDA, as the U.S. Supreme Court explained in UAW v. Johnson Controls, 499 U.S. 187 (1991), the “decision to work while [ ] being pregnant . . . is reserved for each individual woman to make for herself” and “pregnant women who are able to work must be permitted to work under the same conditions as other employees.” Under Supreme Court precedent, therefore, employers are required by the PDA to provide pregnant employees and job applicants with the same employment opportunities as provided to non-pregnant employees and job applicants.

Pregnant Worker Fired & Denied Rehire

Bourne’s House is a restaurant. On April 18, 2019, Gerald was hired by Bourne’s House to work as a hostess. The manager who hired Gerald instructed her to report to work on April 19, 2019. Later in the day on April 18, 2019, the manager learned that Gerald was pregnant. During the evening on April 18, 2019, the manager sent Gerald a Facebook message stating: “Hey, I’m sorry to tell you this, but I’m not gonna be able to hire you. I didn’t realize that you were expecting a baby. I’m afraid by the time I get you trained good, you’ll have to off to be a mom.”

Because she did not see the Facebook message, Gerald reported to work on April 19, 2019. The manager asked Gerald whether she had seen her Facebook message, and Gerald stated that she had not. The manager told Gerald that the position was not suitable for her because she was pregnant. The manager then discharged Gerald and told Gerald that she could re-apply after giving birth. While still pregnant on August 23, 2019, Gerald applied in person for a position at Bourne’s House. Someone at the restaurant, but not Gerald, added the word “pregnant” to Gerald’s application after Gerald had submitted the application. Bourne’s House did not rehire Gerald.

Lawyers For Discrimination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States government responsible for administering, interpreting, and enforcing federal employment discrimination law. In order to deter employers from engaging in unlawful discriminatory employment practices, the EEOC brings lawsuits in federal court on behalf of employment discrimination victims, including pregnancy discrimination victims.

In a press release issued on September 10, 2021 regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, Malcolm Medley, explained that “it is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee simply because she is pregnant.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Houston District Ofice, Rudy Sustaita, observed that “pregnant workers are entitled to the same opportunities as all other workers.”

Citrus County, FL Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida discrimination attorneys have litigated employment discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If you have been discriminated against because of pregnancy or have questions about your protection from pregnancy discrimination under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida discrimination lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes 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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