EEOC Says Company to Pay $20,000 for Firing Expectant Mother
LITTLE ROCK – A North Little Rock, Ark.-based third-party receivables management company for health clubs will pay $20,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 4:08-CV-2816, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, at Little Rock) charged that ABC Financial Services fired Reshma Bandaru because she was pregnant. According to the EEOC, Bandaru was hired as a data entry clerk and placed into a four-week training program at the company’s Sherwood facility. After the training, employees were required to take a test. Approximately one week after Bandaru began the training, she was hospitalized for a condition unrelated to her pregnancy and missed a day and a half of the training. Thereafter, the company fired her because she had missed work and would need further leave to have her baby.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree, approved by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller, enjoins ABC from discriminating on the bases of pregnancy and retaliation. Further, the decree requires the company to provide training to its supervisory and management personnel on pregnancy discrimination; to submit two reports to the EEOC on the training and any complaints of pregnancy discrimination; and to post a notice reinforcing the company’s policies on Title VII.
“Women should not be penalized for choosing to have a family,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and certain counties in Mississippi. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to combating discrimination that prevents women from advancing in the workplace.”
According to its web site, ABC Financial does billing and other services for health club throughout the United States.
Pregnancy discrimination charge filings with the EEOC have increased substantially over the last ten years from 4,219 in FY 1998 to a record high of 6,285 in FY 2008.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.