U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Female Bridge and Tunnel Operating Force Officers Awarded $206,500 in Settlement
NEW YORK - Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), the law enforcement division of the TBTA Operating Force, will pay $206,500 and furnish other relief to resolve charges of pregnancy discrimination brought by female Bridge and Tunnel Operating Force Officers (BTOFOs), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), announced today.
As a result of their investigation, EEOC and DOJ found that the TBTA has engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful sex discrimination against female BTOFOs, when it declared these officers unfit for duty solely because they were pregnant. These female officers were denied equal terms, conditions and privileges of employment afforded to male officers, EEOC and DOJ said. Specifically, pregnant officers were directed to turn in their firearms and were transferred to unfavorable assignments. The medical documentation female officers provided to TBTA from the officers' doctors to indicate their "fitness for duty" status was rejected by TBTA's medical staff.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which is enforced by EEOC. Both EEOC and DOJ launched an investigation into complaints made by female officers alleging ongoing pregnancy discrimination working as BTOFOs. TBTA agreed to this public settlement agreement, which is to be filed for approval with U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York.
In addition to monetary relief, the settlement agreement requires that the TBTA provide in-depth training to all employees regarding the protection that Title VII affords pregnant TBTA employees. The settlement agreement requires TBTA to distribute new and revised fitness for duty and workplace accommodation policies and procedures that conform to the requirements of Title VII and any other laws enforced by EEOC. Under the settlement agreement, the TBTA will provide direction to its medical staff about the requirements of Title VII regarding the protection that the law affords pregnant TBTA employees.
TBTA is an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates seven intrastate toll bridges and two tunnels in New York City. In terms of traffic volume, it is the largest bridge and tunnel toll agency in the United States, serving more than a million people each day.
"An employer cannot rely on stereotypes about pregnant employees in making decisions on their ability or inability to work," said Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC's New York District. "Such conduct is unlawful as well as unfair and counterproductive. Eradicating pregnancy discrimination is an EEOC priority."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. EEOC's New York District Office oversees Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and portions of New Jersey.