Job Offer Rescinded After Company Learned of Applicant's Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged
ORLANDO, Fla. - Daytona Beach-based insurance brokerage firm Brown & Brown will pay $100,000 and furnish significant relief to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Brown & Brown made a written job offer to the applicant and also sent her an employment agreement for a "personal lines technical assistant" position at its Daytona Beach location and proposed employment start dates. Upon receipt of the offer letter, the applicant affirmed her interest by email and sought to ask a few questions regarding the offer. About two hours later, the applicant spoke with the department leader's assistant and inquired about maternity benefits because she was pregnant. The assistant immediately advised the department leader of the applicant's pregnancy and, minutes later, according to the suit, the applicant received an email from the company rescinding the job offer, stating that it "had a very urgent need to have somebody in the position long term …We appreciate you telling us beforehand."
Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division (EEOC v. w Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc., Case No. 6:16-cv-1326-ORL18-DAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree resolving this case provides for the adoption and distribution of a policy on pregnancy discrimination, training of managers, supervisors and human resources personnel at the company's Daytona Beach location, as well as employees at all other Brown & Brown Florida locations. The training will cover sex discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. Brown & Brown also agreed to provide annual information to EEOC during the two-year monitoring period concerning its handling of pregnancy discrimination complaints.
"The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that pregnant employees be treated the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work," said Michael Farrell, the EEOC's Miami District director. "This includes treating pregnant employees the same as others at the hiring stage."
EEOC Miami District Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg added, "The decision to hire should be based upon an applicant's qualifications, not stereotypical assumptions about pregnancy, motherhood or other caretaking responsibilities."
The Miami District Office's jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.