ATLANTA – U.S. Security Associates, Inc. will pay $79,880 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged the Roswell, Ga.-based security company with unlawfully subjecting a security guard to pregnancy discrimination and then firing her in retaliation for complaining about it – in addition to firing her husband, a coworker, for supporting her in the matter.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Margaret Gibson, who worked at U.S. Security’s Marietta, Ga., facility, was subjected to unwarranted discipline, mistreatment, and sexist comments after informing her manager that she was pregnant. Gibson’s manager allegedly commented that a pregnant woman should be at home, not at work, and that Gibson’s focus should be on her children. The manager also complained about Gibson’s pregnant appearance in the guard uniform. Gibson’s termination occurred on the same day she turned in her paperwork for maternity leave. The EEOC says U.S. Security later terminated her husband when he failed to stop his wife from filing a discrimination charge.
Pregnancy discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit in September 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief of $79,880, includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting and postings. In the suit and consent decree, U.S. Security denied any liability or wrongdoing.
“The EEOC is dedicated to ensuring that employers treat all employees equally, regardless of gender, pregnancy status or association,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office. “We are pleased that U.S. Security was committed to resolving this matter and taking steps to ensure future compliance with the law.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.