Retail Clothing Store Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Kevin & J Company, Inc., an Atlanta-based company that sells retail clothing and apparel, will pay $15,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Kevin & J violated federal law by discharging Jenny Thosychangh because of her pregnancy. According to the EEOC's complaint, Thosychangh worked as a customer associate for two days at Kevin & J's Chattanooga store. She was terminated immediately after she advised her store manager of her pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action 1:12-cv-00321) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $15,000 monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit prohibits Kevin & J from future discriminating against employees on the basis of sex or pregnancy. The decree requires that Kevin & J maintain an anti-discrimination policy and train employees on rights under Title VII. The decree also requires the company to post a notice to all employees about protections under Title VII that provides the EEOC's contact information.
"Pregnancy discrimination is a serious problem that continues to be all too present in the American workplace," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Employers cannot discharge female workers based on discriminatory stereotypes about pregnancy, and the EEOC will continue to work to combat this type of blatant bias."
According to company information, Kevin & J Company, Inc. is a Georgia corporation headquartered in Atlanta. It has operated clothing and apparel retail store locations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company operates retail store locations under various names, including Bonnie's, New Square and Skillz Incorporated.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.