Company Rejected Security Officer Due to Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charges
SEATTLE - Tacoma-based security company Oatridge Security Group, Inc. violated federal law when it fired a pregnant security officer and retaliated against her for filing a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, when an Oatridge shift supervisor at the Seattle Tunnel Project disclosed her pregnancy to the operations manager, he responded that working security was not proper for a pregnant woman and that she would likely lose her supervisory position. Within days, Oatridge terminated her. She attempted multiple times to regain her job, and the company reiterated that it was not comfortable with a pregnant security officer. Shortly after she filed an EEOC charge alleging pregnancy discrimination, the operations manager told her in an angry outburst there was no way she would ever work for Oatridge again.
Firing and refusing to hire a worker due to pregnancy are forms of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she opposed discrimination. The EEOC also found that Oatridge failed to ensure confidentiality of employee medical information, which violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Oatridge Security Group, Inc., Civil No. 2:19-cv-01517) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The agency seeks monetary damages on behalf of the security officer and measures to prevent future discrimination.
"This woman attained a supervisory role in a non-traditional, male-dominated industry, then lost her job due to stereotypes about what a pregnant woman can or cannot do," said Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC's Seattle Field Office. "That's an unacceptable loss for this individual, the company and the industry. Employers cannot penalize working women for pregnancy -- or for asserting the right to oppose such discrimination."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy said, "Pregnancy discrimination unnecessarily deprives women of the means to support their families, and the EEOC will vigorously defend their right to be free from discrimination and retaliation."
According to its website, https://www.oatridgesecurity.com, Oatridge provides physical and electronic security as well as life-safety and electrical services.
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.