EEOC Lawsuit Reminds Employers it is Illegal to Discriminate Against Pregnant Workers in New York and Nationwide

The nation’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi Holiday Inn Hotel franchisee over the company’s alleged pregnancy discrimination. According to the complaint, Jiji, Inc. violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 when a general manager fired a new desk clerk due to her pregnancy status. The lawsuit filed in a Mississippi federal court claims the woman was terminated and replaced only a few hours after she notified Jiji, Inc. that she was pregnant. The EEOC lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement, and injunctive relief.

According to the EEOC’s Memphis District Director, Katharine W. Kores, United States employers may not penalize women for making the decision to have a family while working. Kores also stated the EEOC is currently endeavoring to eliminate pregnancy discrimination throughout the country.

In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect pregnant women from being discriminated against in the workplace. The law prohibits employers from engaging in gender discrimination on the basis of a worker’s pregnancy status. Additionally, the act makes it unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee solely because she became pregnant or suffered a pregnancy-related medical complication. In New York City, both city and state Human Rights Laws provide similar protections to pregnant employees. Generally, the laws do not allow an employer to make hiring or firing decisions based on pregnancy and other protected statuses such as marital status, race, disability, and national origin.

Last year, the EEOC received nearly 3,800 pregnancy discrimination complaints and recovered more than $14 million in financial settlements for the victims. Females account for about half of the nation’s workforce and about three-fourths of employed women are likely become pregnant at some point during their working career. Unfortunately, illegal pregnancy discrimination occurs often and can take many forms. If you feel you suffered pregnancy discrimination in a New York workplace, you should discuss your rights with an experienced lawyer.

The knowledgeable attorneys at Phillips & Associates have many years of experience representing individuals who suffered pregnancy discrimination or workplace sexual harassment in New York City and surrounding areas. At Phillips & Associates, our caring lawyers are here to help you protect your rights at the city, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with a diligent advocate, please call our hardworking lawyers at (212) 248-7431 or contact Phillips & Associates through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Manhattan Hotel Kitchen Worker Sues Employer Over Alleged Co-Worker Sexual Harassment, New York Employment Attorney Blog, August 16, 2013
Federal Law Prohibits Employers in New York and Elsewhere from Terminating a Worker Over Medical Leave Related to a Miscarriage, New York Employment Attorney Blog, August 9, 2013
Additional Resources:

Mississippi Holiday Inn Franchisee Sued by EEOC for Pregnancy Discrimination, U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission Press Release dated August 22, 2013


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