Federal Agency Charged Center Cut Hours of Pregnant Social Worker, Then Fired Her for Complaining
CHICAGO - In a lawsuit filed today in federal court, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that Midway Neurological & Rehabilitation Center LLC, based in Bridgeview, Ill., violated federal law by discriminating against a pregnant social worker, first by cutting her hours because of her pregnancy, and then by firing her in retaliation for her filing a charge with EEOC.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, the agency conducted an administrative investigation, managed by EEOC District Director John P. Rowe. According to Rowe, Midway Neurological, after learning that one of its social workers was pregnant, allegedly first cut her hours and then, while she was out on maternity leave and after she filed an EEOC charge, fired her from her job.
"Our investigation showed that this company saw this employee as one who could be singled out for unfavorable treatment because she was pregnant," said Rowe. "This clearly violates federal law."
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Midway Neurological & Rehab Center (Civil Action No. 13 C 6542), in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its statutory conciliation process. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feinerman and Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the former employee and an order barring future discrimination and other relief.
John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney for its Chicago District Office said, "Long gone are the days when employers could target pregnant women for pay cuts because they were 'going to be out on leave anyway.' That's sex discrimination, and it's prohibited. Further, employers who fire workers in retaliation for filing EEOC charges only compound their culpability - and their troubles -- ending up with an EEOC lawsuit alleging not only sex discrimination but retaliation as well."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.