Hospital Refused to Accommodate and Terminated Pregnant Worker, Federal Agency Said
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Nix Hospitals System, LLC, doing business as Nix Healthcare System, a provider of comprehensive medical services, including a full-service hospital and various medical facilities in San Antonio, has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that Nix Hospital violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), by refusing to accommodate the employee's pregnancy-related medical restrictions, resulting in her termination. According to the EEOC, the employee applied for two open desk positions which would have allowed her to work even with her medical restrictions, but Nix Hospital denied her such light-duty positions. Meanwhile, non-pregnant employees injured on the job with medical restrictions were granted light duty.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which is incorporated into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, makes discrimination based on pregnancy a form of sex discrimination. Under the PDA, employers are prohibited from engaging in discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including when employers refuse to accommodate a worker's pregnancy-related medical conditions but do accommodate other workers similar in their ability or inability to work. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. Nix Hospitals System, LLC d/b/a Nix Healthcare System, Civil Action Number 5:18-cv-01004) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary recovery by the employee, the decree resolving this case and approved by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez requires the hospital to post a notice of intent to comply with Title VII and to provide training to employees of their rights under federal law. The consent decree also requires the hospital to revise its policy to ensure that it prohibits pregnancy discrimination including the accommodation of pregnancy-related conditions.
"We are pleased that this employer agreed to provide additional training for its human resources staff on sex and pregnancy discrimination," said Trial Attorney Philip Moss of the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. "Nix will also revise its employment policies to better reflect the rights of employees who are pregnant."
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, "A woman should not have to choose between her pregnancy and her job. Employers should not refuse to accommodate pregnant workers based on considerations of cost or convenience when they accommodate other workers who are similar in their ability to work."
The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC's Dallas District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.
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.