Security Firm Fired Guard Because She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charges
ST. LOUIS - Simmons Security and Protective Services, a private security service in Kansas City, Kan., violated federal law by firing a newly hired employee when it learned she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Simmons hired Lakisha Cole to work as an unarmed security guard patrolling downtown Kansas City on foot and by bicycle. Simmons did not know Cole was pregnant when they hired her. Shortly after Cole started working, Simmons learned from a co-worker Cole was pregnant. The EEOC alleges the company called Cole in and told her she could not work because it wasn't "safe," even though Cole was medically able to perform the job.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects workers from discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Simmons Sec. and Prot. Serv., Inc., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-02218) in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through the agency's conciliation process. The Commission's suit seeks monetary and injunctive relief for Cole, as well as injunctive relief to prevent similar discrimination in the future.
"All too often, pregnant workers are denied employment opportunities based on stereotypes and assumptions regarding their abilities," said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC's St. Louis District. "This is simply unlawful employment discrimination."
James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District, said, "Discrimination against pregnant workers cannot be justified by unfounded claims that it is for the workers' protection and benefit. Pregnant workers - just like other workers - need an equal opportunity to work to support themselves and their growing families."
Simmons Security and Protection Services, Inc. provides private security services for residential and business communities in Greater Kansas City.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing 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.