Press Release 09-30-2020

EEOC Sues The Harlan Company for Refusing to Hire Pregnant Receptionist

Company Revoked Job Offer When It Learned Applicant Was Expecting, Federal Agency Charges

ST. LOUIS – The Harlan Company, a St. Louis-based construction company, violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant for a receptionist job because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, The Harlan Company interviewed the applicant and decided she was the best qualified person for an open receptionist position. The company offered her the job and confirmed her start date. The following day, the company learned she was pregnant. One day later, it revoked the job offer and hired another individual who was not pregnant.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination due to pregnancy. The EEOC’s suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. The Harlan Company, Civil Action No. 4-20-cv-1395-AGF) seeks monetary relief for the applicant, an order prohibiting future discriminatory conduct against pregnant individuals, and other relief.

“Hiring discrimination is one of the most difficult types of employment discrimination to eliminate because applicants usually do not know the reason they were not selected for hire,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis. “But here a person involved in the hiring process had the courage to step forward and tell the truth about why the worker’s job offer was revoked. Justice depends on the voices of good people who are willing to stand up for what is right.”

L. Jack Vasquez, director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office, added, “Pregnancy discrim­ination in the workplace harms women and their entire families. People seek good jobs to build a better life for themselves and their families. Denying employment opportunities to pregnant women makes it that much more difficult for families to succeed.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including sex and pregnancy discrimination. The St. Louis District office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.

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.