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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-30-10

Indiana Health Care Service Sued by EEOC for Pregnancy Discrimination

Dental Hygienist Fired Because She Was Pregnant and About to Go on Maternity Leave, Federal Agency Charged

SOUTH BEND, Ind.  – An Indiana health care service corporation operating a dental clinic in South Bend violated federal law when it fired an employee because she was pregnant and about to go on maternity leave, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.  According to the EEOC’s suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Indiana Health Centers, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:10-cv-412-PF), Indiana Health Centers, Inc. terminated a dental hygienist shortly after her supervisor learned she was pregnant.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because she is pregnant.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.  The EEOC seeks back pay including pre-judgment interest, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction enjoining Indiana Health Centers, Inc., from engaging in further sex discrimination and requiring it to take other measures to ensure a workplace free of discrimination for current and future employees.  

“Without warning, this employer joined the growing ranks of employers who refuse to heed the federal protection conferred on pregnant employees by federal law,” said Laurie A. Young, regional attorney for EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office.  “The EEOC will continue to vigorously work to protect the rights of pregnant employees and educate employers that it is simply unlawful to discriminate against pregnant employees.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at: www.eeoc.gov.