A settlement in a lawsuit filed against a New York-based retailer for alleged pregnancy discrimination is awaiting a judge’s approval before becoming final. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against dELiA*s on behalf of two former employees who allege that they were harassed and fired because they became pregnant. The proposed settlement, totaling $75,000, includes compensatory damages, back pay, and attorney’s fees.
dELiA*s is a “multi-channel retail company” with two “lifestyle brands.” It operates dELiA*s store locations in shopping malls around the country, with teenage girls as the target market. The two women represented by the EEOC are Nicole Young and Mallory Martin. Both worked at the store location at Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania. Young worked as a “Fashion Representative,” and Martin was a “Co-Manager.”
According to the EEOC’s complaint, Martin informed both the store manager and district manager that she was pregnant in February or March 2010. One to two weeks later, Young told the store manager of her pregnancy. Both women allege that they began to experience harassment from other employees at the store after their announcements. Martin reportedly complained to the district manager in June 2010, specifically citing harassment by the store manager. That same month, Young allegedly made an anonymous complaint to the district manager regarding harassment at the store.
Both women claimed that they received constant questioning regarding “their ability to perform their jobs because they were pregnant.” Martin was allegedly forced to take early maternity leave. Young alleged that she was encouraged to take a leave of absence, and that she was required to provide medical records to demonstrate her ability to continue performing her job duties. She also alleged that, even though store management had granted a request for a “lifting modification” in her job duties prior to her pregnancy, a similar modification was denied during her pregnancy. Finally, according to Young and the EEOC, she was discharged by the store due to the pregnancy and in retaliation for complaining about the harassment.
Young and Martin complained to the EEOC, which filed suit on their behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on September 22, 2011. The suit alleges pregnancy discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It requests unspecified damages, including back pay and other losses for Martin and Young. The parties filed a consent decree detailing their settlement agreement on July 3, 2012. Under the settlement, Young will receive $52,000 in compensatory damages, $6,000 in back pay, and $1,000 for attorney’s fees. Martin will receive $15,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000 in attorney’s fees.
Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on gender and several other factors. State and municipal laws provide further protections against employment discrimination for workers in New York City. Pregnancy discrimination, according to these laws, is an unlawful form of gender discrimination.
The New York pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates help safeguard the rights protected by anti-discrimination laws for both employees and job seekers. Contact us today online, or call (212) 248-7431 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Complaint (PDF), EEOC v. dELiA*s, Inc., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, September 22, 2011
Consent Decree (PDF), EEOC v. dELiA*s, Inc., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, July 3, 2012
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Proposed Legislation Would Increase Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 22, 2012
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