The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
8-14-09

INSURANCE AGENCY PAYS $30,000 TO SETTLE EEOC PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION SUIT

Woman Unlawfully Denied Job Because of Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charges

AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that an independent Austin-based insurance agency has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle an EEOC pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC claimed that Time Insurance Agency (TIA) discriminated against a qualified female job applicant when it failed to hire her for an administrative assistant position because she was expecting a child. More specifically, after applying for a position, the complainant was called for an interview. After an initial interview, the applicant was asked to meet with the manager of the department where she would be working. At the follow-up interview, she informed the manager that she was pregnant. According to the complainant, it was the next day that the employer thanked her for being honest about her pregnancy and immediately rejected her for hire.

In addition to the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit (Civil Action No. A08CA702LY, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas) requires that the company implement a policy that prohibits discrimination, provide EEO training to its employees and post a notice in the workplace of its intent to fully comply with that law.

“As the statute makes clear, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is sex discrimination and a violation of federal law,” said Judith G. Taylor, supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “The EEOC is committed to pursuing the claims of women who are denied the right to make a living simply because their employer discovered that they are pregnant.”

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are prohibited from engaging in sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including making employment decisions based on childbirth or any medical conditions affected by pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, “Women should not be forced to choose between having a child and having a job, and employers should take note that the EEOC will continue to combat pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant women are entitled to work just like every other employee as long as they are able to perform their jobs. Employers cannot have policies or make decisions based on stereotypes and paternalistic opinions regarding health or safety.”

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


This page was last modified on August 13, 2009.

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