Pregnant Employee Denied Promotion Over Maternity Leave Concerns, EEOC Charged
LOS ANGELES – Sentinel Real Estate Corp., a New York-based nationwide provider of real estate management services, will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, a Sentinel leasing consultant sought promotion to an assistant manager position at the company’s Town Center Apartments in Valencia, Calif., in December 2006. In response, a Sentinel property manager expressed misguided concerns over whether the consultant would miss work due to her pregnancy and fail to return from maternity leave, the EEOC said. Sentinel ultimately hired a non-pregnant outside applicant for the assistant manager position.
“Applicants deserve to be treated equally, regardless of gender or pregnancy,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “We commend Sentinel for working with the EEOC to prevent future pregnancy discrimination at its facilities.”
Olophius E. Perry, district director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office said, “The law expressly protects women from discrimination due to pregnancy. Employers must assess pregnant workers as they would any other employee, basing decisions solely on one’s qualifications.”
Employment discrimination because of pregnancy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed its lawsuit against Sentinel in September 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Sentinel Real Estate Corp., Case No. CV-09-06949-GAF(FFMx)). Aside from the monetary relief secured for the victim, the parties entered into a four-year consent decree in which Sentinel agreed to implement an internal policy, procedures and staff training to safeguard against gender bias, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. Sentinel must also submit annual reports to the EEOC to track future pregnancy discrimination complaints.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.