Fort Wayne Office Product and Service Store Fired Employee Because of Her Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged
INDIANAPOLIS - Office Concepts, Inc., a Fort Wayne, Ind., office product and service store, will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
EEOC's suit charged that Office Concepts, which provides machines, supplies and service to customers in northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, fired Lynsey Burd after she informed her manager of her pregnancy. Burd's final task, as it turned out, was to train a new employee, EEOC said. Burd finished training the new employee, and Office Concepts terminated her the next business day. Immediately after firing Burd, Office Concepts hired another new employee. Neither new employee was pregnant, EEOC said.
Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-290) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana after trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The company denied the allegations, but, under the consent decree approved by U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano, agreed to pay $45,000 to Burd. In addition, Office Concepts will distribute a new non-discrimination policy to all employees, attend three training sessions led by EEOC, and submit compliance reports to the agency during the decree's two-year term.
"Employers need a robust training and compliance program to honor their obligations under equal employment opportunity laws," said Michelle Eisele, EEOC supervisory trial attorney for the Indianapolis District Office. "This resolution compensates Ms. Burd for her lost wages and will help Office Concepts develop a commitment to a work environment free of unlawful bias."
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.