Quality Solutions, LLC, pays $22,500 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). According to published accounts, Kayla Medeiros sought a temporary job assignment through Quality Solutions. The company called Medeiros for a job opening but when Medeiros responded to Quality Solutions indicating her interest in taking the job, a company manager told her that he could not send her for the assignment because she was pregnant. You cannot make a hiring decision based on someone’s pregnancy. The manager indicated that the job was in a warehouse where Medeiros could get hurt. Any employee could get hurt in a warehouse, so you can’t just single out a pregnant woman. The type of thinking that this manager exhibited is twenty years behind the times. Managers need to get with the program and update their thinking. The laws around the country regarding pregnancy discrimination are strong and wide ranging.
That type of conduct violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is a part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act’s prohibit employers from subjecting women to discrimination due to pregnancy. In Illinois this type of conduct would also allow a person to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR“). It would be a good idea for corporations around the country to pay extra attention to the laws regarding discrimination. As you can see from this settlement, not only does the company get bad publicity, but also they had to pay money. Take the high road and treat all applicants equally.
If an applicant provides a doctors note stating she can’t do certain jobs because of her pregnancy that is one thing. In that case, a reasonable accommodation must be made, if available. However, in this case, the applicant did not ask for any accommodation. She didn’t say she couldn’t do the job she applied for. The company can’t on its’ own determine she can’t do a specific job solely because she is pregnant. As more and more woman join the workforce and do so as single parents and as pregnant applications, companies will need to accommodate them and follow the law. Companies that don’t follow the law, will be and should be held accountable.