Youth Home Opts for Early Resolution of Lawsuit, Federal Agency Says
MUSKEGON, Mich. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it has settled its lawsuit which was filed against Muskegon River Youth Home for maintaining a policy which discriminated against pregnant employees. Muskegon River Youth Home is a private detention center for troubled teens that has been in business since 1996.
The EEOC filed suit against the home in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan on September 27, 2012 (EEOC v. Muskegon River Youth Home, Case No. 1:12-cv-01049). The lawsuit alleged that the home violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against female employees on the basis of their sex. The lawsuit specified that the company had a pregnancy policy which unlawfully required pregnant employees to 1) report any pregnancy immediately to the company; 2) obtain a note from their physician or other care provider which certifies that the employee can continue to work; 3) if an employee cannot provide such a note, she must take leave throughout the pregnancy; and 4) remain on leave until 30 days after the pregnancy.
Weeks after the EEOC filed suit, Muskegon River Youth Home agreed to a 10-year consent decree to resolve this case. Under the agreement, the home must rescind its pregnancy policy and may not require employees to inform the company when they become pregnant; to wait 30 days after pregnancy before coming back to work; or to provide statements from a caregiver regarding the employees' continued ability to work. The home also must conduct training on pregnancy discrimination and periodically provide reports to the EEOC.
"Muskegon River Youth Home's pregnancy policy was a clear violation of the law," said EEOC Regional Attorney Laurie A. Young. "I am quite pleased with this outcome."
EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell agreed. "The policy treated pregnant employees less favorably than non-pregnant employees, which violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act," Campbell explained. "This employer should be commended for resolving this case at this juncture."
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.