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Press Release 12-14-2020

DoodyCalls Will Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination Suit

Pet Waste Removal Company Fired Pregnant Worker, Federal Agency Charged

BALTIMORE – Charlottesville, Va.-based DoodyCalls, a leading pet waste removal company, will pay $40,000 and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a federal pregnancy and disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

According to the suit, a female pet waste technician at DoodyCalls’s Rockville, Md., facility, whose duties included visiting residential and commercial sites to collect and dispose of pet waste, told the operations manager that she had a pregnancy-related medical lifting restriction and a requirement to take a brief break after six hours of walking. The EEOC said that the technician could have continued performing her duties within her lifting restriction by simply reducing the size of each load, as allowed by her job description, and as she had successfully done before the medical restriction. Instead of allowing the technician to do her job under the lifting restriction, a DoodyCalls manager fired her, telling her that he was concerned about the company’s liability and that she could seek re-hire after her pregnancy, according to the suit.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, as well as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title VII prohibits employment discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, such as discharging pregnant workers with medical restrictions when they are able to perform their job duties. The ADA prohibits employment discrimination because of disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. DoodyCalls, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:19-cv-02757) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides $40,000 in monetary relief to the technician and enjoins DoodyCalls from terminating employees based on their sex/pregnancy and/or disability in the future. DoodyCalls must provide training on Title VII, the ADA, and the decree’s requirements. Under its revised non-discrimination policy, DoodyCalls will provide reasonable accom­modation to employees who are pregnant and/or have a disability, promptly investigate complaints of discrimination, and take appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination against any supervisor who discriminates. DoodyCalls will post an anti-discrimination notice and report to the EEOC on any future complaints of alleged pregnancy or disability discrimination.

"Pregnancy discrimination continues to be a persistent problem in the American workforce, and the EEOC will continue working to prevent and remedy such discrimination,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “We commend DoodyCalls for voluntarily agreeing to a settlement that compensates the technician and protects other employees from discrimination based on pregnancy or disability.”

“Employers must remember that federal law prohibits employment discrimination not only because of pregnancy and childbirth, but also any medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth,” added Jamie R. Williamson, director of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office. “Workers with preg­nancy-related medical conditions or ADA disabilities related to pregnancy must be treated in accordance with their rights under the law -- not myths, fears, or stereotypes.”

One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan is to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations, among other possible issues.

The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.