Press Release 03-31-2009

BRITTHAVEN TO PAY $300,000 TO SETTLE PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION SUIT

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Britthaven, Inc., a Kinston, N.C.-based  nursing home and assisted living chain, will pay $300,000 to settle a pregnancy  discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

     

The  EEOC had charged that Britthaven had, since at least 2002, subjected pregnant  employees to different terms and conditions of employment than its non‑pregnant  employees. Specifically, the EEOC said  that upon learning that an employee was pregnant, the company required her to  obtain full medical clearance in order to continue working. As a result of this practice, Katherine Hance  and other pregnant women were forced to take medical leave or were terminated  despite the fact that they were fully capable of performing their job  duties. Hance worked at the Carolina  Commons facility in Greensboro. In addition to the Carolina Commons facility,  Britthaven operates 53 other nursing and assisted living facilities in North Carolina, Virginia  and Kentucky.

     

“Working  women who chose to have children, should not be penalized or treated  differently than other employees simply because they are pregnant,” said  Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District  Office. “Employers must remember that  paternalistic attitudes toward pregnant employees that result in unequal  treatment at work violate federal law.  The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce workplace civil rights laws  to remedy and eradicate pregnancy discrimination.”

     

In  addition to the $300,000 in back pay and compensatory damages that Britthaven  will pay, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Britthaven, Inc., Case No. 1:07CV00408 in U.S. District Court for  the Middle District of North Carolina) includes injunctive relief enjoining  Britthaven from engaging in pregnancy discrimination or retaliation and  requires anti-discrimination training, the posting of a notice about the EEOC,  and reports to the EEOC so that the agency can monitor requests for medical  clearance made by the company.

      The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s  web site at www.eeoc.gov.