Moving Company Fired Female Employee Because She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charges
DURHAM, N.C. - DeHaven's Transfer & Storage, Inc., a residential and commercial moving company, violated federal law when it fired a female employee because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.
According to EEOC's complaint, around October 2013, Heather Centeno began working as a packer at the DeHaven's facility in Durham, N.C. Around April 2014, DeHaven's business manager learned the Centeno was pregnant. Around May 2014, the business manager told Centeno that pregnant women should not be doing the packer job, saying it was unsafe. In response, Centeno explained that her doctor said it was safe for her to work as a packer. Several weeks later, around June 13, 2014, DeHaven's business manager again expressed concern to Centeno that she should not work while pregnant. The same day, the company owner told Centeno's crew leader that he should not bring Centeno to work any longer because of her size, and stated that she looked terrible. DeHaven's fired Centeno that same day.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits employers from terminating workers because they are pregnant. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. DeHaven's Transfer & Storage, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:15-CV-00768) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency's conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay, front pay or reinstatement, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Centeno, as well as injunctive relief.
"No working woman should have to fear losing her job simply because she decides to have a child," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Employers must remember that terminating an employee because she is pregnant violates federal law, and EEOC will enforce that law," Barnes continued.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.