Working women should not be penalized or treated differently than other employees simply because they are pregnant.
EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette A. Barnes made this statement and further confirmed that the EEOC "will continue to vigorously enforce workplace civil rights laws to remedy and eradicate pregnancy discrimination."
The EEOC this week announced the settlement of a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against Britthaven, Inc., a nursing home and assisted living chain.
The EEOC charged that Britthaven discriminated against pregnant workers. Upon learning that an employee was pregnant, the company required her to obtain full medical clearance in order to continue working.
As a result of this practice, Katherine Hance and other pregnant women were forced to take medical leave or were terminated despite the fact that they were fully capable of performing their job duties.
“Employers must remember that paternalistic attitudes toward pregnant employees that result in unequal treatment at work violate federal law," Barnes added.
Britthaven will pay $300,000 in back pay and compensatory damages. Britthaven also is prohibited from engaging in pregnancy discrimination or retaliation. The company will provide anti-discrimination training, the posting of a notice about the EEOC, and reports to the EEOC so that the agency can monitor requests for medical clearance made by the company.
It's good for Britthaven that this case settled - juries do not like pregnancy discrimination.