Federal Agency Says Day Care Center Refused to Allow Pregnant Teacher to Work
CHICAGO - Adventures in Learning Aurora, Inc., an Aurora, Ill.-based childcare center with approximately 100 employees across four locations in Illinois, will pay $31,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC had alleged that Adventures in Learning discriminated against a pregnant employee at one of its locations and forced her to quit when it refused to allow her to work after her fourth month of pregnancy. Adventures in Learning opted to settle the case shortly after it was filed.
U.S. District Court Judge George M. Marovich of the Northern District of Illinois entered a consent decree resolving the lawsuit on Feb. 22. The decree provides $31,000 in monetary relief to the victim and requires Adventures in Learning 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 on the prevention and eradication of pregnancy discrimination, and also adopt a new policy prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.
"Pregnancy discrimination has been illegal for a long time, so we are never happy to see it," said the EEOC district director in Chicago, John Rowe, who managed the EEOC's administrative investigation of the charge of discrimination underlying the lawsuit. "On the other hand, it's encouraging to see an employer charged with such discrimination put an end to it and work with the EEOC to achieve a just result which works for all."
John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, said, "Really early resolution of this case -- before any depositions were taken -- created a win-win situation for everyone. This employer avoided investing in litigation expenses which would not have yielded a different result and was able refocus on its business in a hurry. The EEOC secured the necessary law enforcement objectives with minimal expense to the taxpayers - there's nothing not to like about that these days. The charging party received early and certain relief in an appropriate amount. And, finally, the long-term public interest was served by the decree's mandating targeted equitable relief, including a specific injunction against the company and its officers engaging in pregnancy discrimination, along with well-defined training, reporting and policy changes in the workplace."
The EEOC's lawsuit was brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits sex discrimination (including pregnancy) in employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its statutory conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. Adventures in Learning of Aurora, Inc., Civil Action No. 12 cv -7489, was filed on Sept. 18, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. EEOC Trial Attorneys June Calhoun and Jeanne Szromba and Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason litigated the case on behalf of the government.
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.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.