New Orleans Motel Placed Employee on Unwanted Leave of Absence, Federal Agency Charges
NEW ORLEANS - G6 Hospitality, dba Motel 6, unlawfully placed a pregnant employee on leave solely because of the fact that she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
The suit alleges that Adrian Johnson, who worked at a New Orleans Motel 6, informed management that she was pregnant and that her pregnancy was considered high-risk. On March 1, 2015, Johnson called her manager to inform him that she would be unable to work that day due to a pregnancy-related illness. The manager told Johnson that he was modifying the work schedule and taking her off the schedule for the entire week, despite the fact that she only needed one day off. Six days later, Johnson attempted to call the manager to ask when she would be placed back on the schedule. Later that day, she received a text message from him stating that she was being placed on a leave of absence until her pregnancy was over. Johnson did not request to be placed on a leave of absence.
EEOC charged that Motel 6 placed Johnson on forced leave of absence without pay due to her pregnancy, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits an employer from "discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect to…compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's sex." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) amended Title VII to include discrimination based on pregnancy and related medical conditions.
EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Motel 6 from engaging in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex in the future, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Johnson, and other relief the court deems proper.
"This lawsuit should remind everyone unmistakably that federal law protects pregnant workers from such treatment," said Jim Sacher, regional attorney for EEOC's Houston District. "The fact that a manager would send a text explicitly suspending an employee because she is pregnant highlights the need for EEOC to continue its vigorous enforcement of pregnancy discrimination law - and that's what we'll do."
Keith Hill, New Orleans Field Office director, added, "EEOC will aggressively investigate allegations of pregnancy discrimination and pursue meaningful relief in order to eliminate this type of unlawful conduct."
According to company information, G6 Hospitality owns, operates and franchises over 1,300 economy lodging locations under the Motel 6 brand and the Studio 6 Extended Stay Brand. Headquartered in Dallas, G6 Hospitality employs more than 10,000 team members across the United States and Canada.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.