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Press Release 11-04-2022

Ford Motor Company to Pay $115,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Automaker Made a Conditional Offer of Hire to a Pregnant Applicant but Failed to Hire Her Even Though She Was Qualified and Passed a Company Physical, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – Automaker Ford Motor Company will pay $115,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ford violated federal law when it when it refused to hire a pregnant applicant to work at its stamping plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois, due to her pregnancy.  Ford extended the applicant a conditional offer, subject to passing a physical, drug test, and background check.  The woman passed each of these tests successfully, disclosing at her physical that she was pregnant.  Ford’s doctor cleared her to begin work on August 13, 2019, but Ford did not schedule her for her first day of work. The woman repeatedly called Ford to find out when she would begin working and was given various answers, until she was told in late October 2019 Ford was no longer hiring.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination because of pregnancy.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ford Motor Co., Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-05089) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The case was litigated by Trial Attorneys Ann Henry and Greger Calhan and Assistant Regional Attorney Ethan Cohen.

In addition to the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree resolving the suit prohibits pregnancy discrimination and retaliation at Ford’s Chicago stamping plant facility, including prohibiting Ford from requiring additional medical documentation or releases from pregnant employees than it does from other employees.  It also requires Ford to adopt procedures for notifying pregnant applicants or employees if it needs more medical information, provide anti-discrimination and harassment training; adopt and maintain equal employment opportunity policies that include a robust complaint and investigation procedure; and report complaints of pregnancy discrimination to the EEOC. The EEOC will monitor Ford’s compliance with these obligations while the decree is in effect.

“Federal law does not allow employers to make pregnancy a barrier to employment,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “The EEOC is committed to vigorously enforcing pregnancy discrimination laws and eradicating discriminatory treatment of pregnant employees.”

EEOC Chicago District Director Julie Bowman added, “No one should have to choose between motherhood and livelihood.  Ford should be commended for agreeing to a consent decree early in this litigation and committing to ensuring that its managers and employees are trained on their rights and obligations under Title VII.”

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, please visit

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. 

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.