There are two takeaways in today’s post.
First: Beating a dead horse, we are constrained to remind health care and medical providers, yet again, that the EEOC continues to target you for ADA violations, or (in the case we will discuss), Title VII pregnancy violations; and
Second: Be aware that Title VII, a “make whole” statute, provides for possible remedies that include, besides monetary awards, reinstatement. Employers forget that.
This post is prompted by a an EEOC announcement of a consent decree in a Title VII lawsuit against an Illinois rehab center which provides short- and long- term medical and rehabilitation care located in suburban Bridgeview, Ill. The EEOC alleged that the administrator of the center, after learning that a staff social worker was pregnant, reduced her hours and then fired her while she was on maternity leave.
The consent decree “provides for reinstatement of the employee and monetary compensation in the form of a salary adjustment and repayment of nursing school loans. In addition, the consent decree requires [the center] to report to the EEOC for the next two years on all employee complaints of pregnancy discrimination. The company must also train all its employees at this location on the prevention and eradication of pregnancy discrimination.”
“Reinstatement” (and a commensurate salary adjustment) is what we want to highlight about the consent decree, since it is not often that a company, or the former employee, agree to it (virtually all EEOC settlements and consent decrees contain provisions requiring anti-discrimination training, and EEOC oversight for a period of time – usually a couple of years).
In any event, the EEOC noted that “Pregnancy discrimination remains a problem. In too many workplaces too many times, employers are too quick to determine that the pregnant employee is the expendable employee. But we’re pleased with the result here. It includes getting the employee back on the job and positioned to progress in her career.”