Medical Transport Company Refused Accommodation to Pregnant Employee, Federal Agency Charged
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - First Call Ambulance Service, LLC, a Nashville-based company that provides non-emergency medical transport and ambulance services throughout Tennessee, Ohio and Virginia, will pay $55,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's suit, after an emergency technician informed First Call of her pregnancy and presented a doctor's note that restricted her from lifting patients greater than 200 pounds without assistance, the company refused to accommodate her. First Call removed the employee from the work schedule, told her she could not work because of her pregnancy and forced her to take unpaid leave. At the same time, First Call allowed non-pregnant employees to use a power cot to lift patients. EEOC charged that the company maintained an unlawful policy of refusing to accommodate female employees with lifting restrictions due to pregnancy, while providing comparable accommodations to non-pregnant employees.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. First Call Ambulance Service, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-01041) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Besides the $55,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins First Call from subjecting employees to pregnancy discrimination in the future. The decree also requires First Call to develop a policy prohibiting pregnancy discrimination; provide training on that form of discrimination; requires First Call's chief executive officer to appear via video at the training and advise employees of the policy and the consequences for violating it; maintain records of any complaints of discrimination; and provide annual reports to EEOC.
"Employers should never remove an employee simply because of her pregnancy," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for EEOC's Memphis District Office, which serves Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Combating pregnancy discrimination remains a priority for this District and we will continue to work to eliminate it in workplace. We expect that the injunctive relief and training provisions in the consent decree will prevent the recurrence of pregnancy discrimination in the future. We commend First Call for working with EEOC to resolve this lawsuit quickly."
EEOC issued an enforcement guidance, "Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues," on June 25, 2015.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.