Rockville Gym Rescinded Job Offer After Learning Applicant Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - Minnesota-based gym company Life Time Fitness, Inc. will pay $86,000 and furnish significant relief to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in the suit that after two job interviews, Life Time Fitness told Emily Carpenter, who was applying for a job at its Rockville, Md., location, to come in to complete new hire paperwork so she could be placed on the schedule. When Carpenter emailed the gym with her work availability and advised that she was 35 weeks pregnant, the gym failed to schedule her for work and stopped communicating with her. A manager finally told her two weeks later that her position had been placed on hold and two other people had been hired. The manager encouraged her to apply for a position at another Life Time Fitness facility opening later that year, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Life Time Fitness, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:16-cv-02936-DKC) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $86,000 in monetary relief to Carpenter, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit enjoins Life Time Fitness from failing to hire based on sex, including pregnancy. The company will revise its non-discrimination policy to state that it does not discriminate on the basis of pregnancy and will disseminate the revised policy to all current and newly hired employees. The company will provide annual anti-discrimination training to all managers and hiring personnel at its Montgomery County, Md., facilities. Further, the company will also report to EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree, including how it handles any complaints of alleged pregnancy discrimination, and will post a notice regarding the settlement.
"Rescinding a job offer to a qualified applicant, even if you tell her she can reapply for another position after she has the baby, is still illegal pregnancy discrimination," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "Unfortunately too many women still experience pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. We are pleased that this settlement corrected this situation by providing monetary compensation to Ms. Carpenter, as well as other measures that will protect other women and applicants from sex or pregnancy discrimination."
EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
EEOC advances equal opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.