An employee gave birth and experienced related medical conditions, including the effects of delivery by cesarean section. The employer granted the employee leave, but shortly thereafter, the employee filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (sex discrimination).
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The EEOC issued the employer a Letter of Determination finding reasonable cause to believe that the company violated Title VII. When the EEOC was unable to obtain from the business a conciliation agreement acceptable to the EEOC, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court, alleging the business violated Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination when it discharged the employee because of her pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
In the EEOC’s lawsuit, it argued that although the business purported to grant the employee maternity leave, when she tried to return to work, she was informed that she no longer had a position for reasons that the EEOC said were pretexts for discrimination. Specifically, the EEOC claimed that within days of the employee’s childbirth and of learning about the employee’s related medical conditions, the employer made plans to replace her and assigned her primary job responsibilities to a less-qualified man, and when the employee tried to return to work, rather than permit her to return to work, the company told her that her department had been moved to another state and discharged her.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the business fired the employee because of her pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions that included the effects of an emergency caesarean section.The business paid $50,000 to settle the EEOC pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. (EEOC v. R. Siskind & Company, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-5175).
In addition to paying the money for the settlement, the business agreed to a consent decree that requires multiple steps to prevent future discrimination, including anti-discrimination policies, training, and leave and accommodation procedures, which will be monitored by the EEOC for three years.
EEOC spokespersons stated that “because of this settlement, [the business]… will better recognize and protect the rights of women in the workplace going forward,” and “Employers must understand that permitting pregnant employees to work is only one part of equal opportunity based on pregnancy. The law also prohibits employers from discriminating based on childbirth and related medical conditions, which includes the effects of cesarean-section surgeries,” and “This employee worked through her entire pregnancy, including the day she went into labor. She wanted nothing more than to be able to promptly return to work as soon as she recovered from her surgery. When [the company] terminated her instead, it broke the law.”
This case reminds Florida employers of the importance of contacting an employment lawyer before making decisions impacting a pregnant employee. If you need assistance in such a situation, contact the Law Office of David Miklas, P.A. or call us at 1-772-465-5111.
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