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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-20-12

Security Company Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

Quest Denied Work to Female Officer After Maternity  Leave, Federal Agency Charges

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - West Sacramento  security services company Quest Intelligence Group violated federal law when it  refused to allow a female security officer to return to work after maternity  leave, the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a  lawsuit filed today. 

According  to the EEOC's suit, when security guard Tabitha Feeney contacted Quest to  schedule her return to work after taking leave to have a baby, she was told  that there was no work for her and that she would be called if work became  available.  Feeney had worked for Quest  for about one year prior to her leave.  The  company never contacted her, yet the EEOC's investigation showed that Quest  solicited applications for security guard positions and hired several males  within weeks of Feeney's request to return to work.

"Losing  my job and facing a brand-new job search right after giving birth was incredibly  stressful," said Feeney.  "I had a new  baby to support and no income.  I had  planned on going back to my job, and it was devastating to lose that."

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the  1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of  1978.  After first attempting to reach a  voluntary settlement through conciliation efforts, the EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Quest Intelligence Group, LLC,  Civil Action No. CV 2:12 01277) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District  of California.  The agency seeks lost  wages, damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages on behalf of Feeney,  as well as injunctive relief such as training for company managers and  employees, and compliance monitoring by the EEOC. 

"Pregnant employees  must be able to take maternity leave without danger of losing their job," said  EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.   He noted that pregnancy discrimination continues to be an issue for  working women.  The number of charges  filed with the EEOC alleging pregnancy discrimination averaged about 6,000 for  the fiscal years 2007 to 2011. 

EEOC  San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado said, "The EEOC has seen  pregnancy- and caregiving-related claims increase along with the economic  crisis, and so we will vigorously defend workers' rights in this area."

He noted that in February the EEOC held a public  meeting in Washington concerning discrimination against pregnant women and  workers with caregiving responsibilities.   Material from this Commission meeting can be found at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/2-15-12/index.cfm.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on  its web site at www.eeoc.gov.