Government Contractor Punished Pregnant Women Who Opposed Unlawful Treatment, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE -- A Washington, D.C.-based security services company, DTM Corporation, violated federal law by subjecting employees to pregnancy discrimination and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today. DTM is a government contractor doing business for the U.S. Department of Defense at Fort Washington, Md., and has an office in Silver Spring, Md.
In its suit, (Civil Action No. 11-cv-02433) filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, the EEOC charges that DTM violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by promulgating its corporate maternity policy, which imposes greater burdens on pregnant employees than those imposed on other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. The EEOC said the company enforced its policy by mandating suspension of pregnant women pending receipt of a medical release, and also required mandatory medical examinations that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity.
Additionally, the EEOC said that Naima Ashigur, a former DTM employee, was suspended and repeatedly forced to obtain fitness for duty clearances, despite having already received clearances from her doctor because of her pregnancy and required to undergo medical examinations that were not job-related or consistent with business necessity. Further, Ashigur was harassed by being subjected to comments by her supervisor, who would speculate to co-workers about whether she was pregnant; threatened that he wanted her off of the contract because of her child-bearing status; and, that she “better not get pregnant again.” The EEOC further contends that DTM denied Ashigur maternity leave, refused to allow her to return to work after she was medically cleared for duty after giving birth, subjected her to heightened scrutiny and disciplined in retaliation for complaining about the pregnancy discrimination and unlawful medical inquiries and examinations.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides that an employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work and must treat pregnant employees the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. The ADA strictly limits the circumstances under which an employer may ask questions about a medical condition or require medical examinations of employees. Both Title VII and the ADA provide that it is unlawful to retaliate against an individual for filing a charge or opposing employment practices that discriminate. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to do their jobs and to return to work when medically cleared by their physician,” said Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “The ADA’s restrictions on medical inquiries and medical examinations apply to all employees, not just those with disabilities.”
During fiscal year 2010, 6119 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed nationwide with the EEOC and state and local fair employment practices agencies, and a record 25,165 charges were filed under the ADA for the same period.
According to its web site, (www.dtmcorp.com) DTM Corporation is a full-services provider of leading-edge security solutions, facility management and automation resources.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.