Pharmacy's Owner Fired Two Pregnant Employees within Weeks of Each Other, Federal Agency Charged
DALLAS - Tomeldon Company, Inc., dba Pharmacy Solutions, an Arlington, Texas pharmaceutical compounding business, will pay $85,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Pharmacy Solutions violated federal law by firing two female employees because of their pregnancies. The suit charged that after Arian Lemon, a former pharmacist at Pharmacy Solutions, started making visits to her doctor, the owner made negative remarks about her pregnancy. The suit also alleged that after Emilee Stephens, a former pharmacy technician, informed the owner that she was pregnant and requested to switch her days off to see her doctor, the owner made negative comments about her pregnancy. The owner fired both employees in the same month.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas lawsuit (Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-3330-I), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"The discharges like those carried out in this case are the reason so many women worry that pregnancy may harm their careers," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark. "EEOC stands ready to protect the rights of pregnant workers and ensure that women can make decisions about their careers free from the fear of biased and misguided employers."
In addition to the monetary relief secured for the victims, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. Judge Sam A. Lindsay, also enjoins Pharmacy Solutions from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy with respect to termination, recruitment, and other employment actions. Pharmacy Solutions also agreed to establish and implement a written policy prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, including on the basis of pregnancy and sex. In addition to other injunctive relief, Pharmacy Solutions also agreed to submit quarterly reports to EEOC to track future reports of pregnancy discrimination.
"It is unfortunate that in a medical-related business like a pharmacy, there would still be such an outdated approach to pregnancy in the workplace," said Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino of EEOC's Dallas District Office. "Exclusion of women who simply seek to earn a living as well as have a family can certainly run afoul of the anti-discrimination statutes."
EEOC recently updated its enforcement guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a question-and-answer document about the guidance and a fact sheet for small businesses. The enforcement guidance, Q&A document, and fact sheet are available on EEOC's website.
In fiscal year 2015, EEOC received 3,543 discrimination charges based on pregnancy, and obtained $14.8 in monetary benefits for victims of such discrimination through pre-litigation efforts such as settlements and conciliations.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov .