Company Rejected Applicant Once It Learned She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charged
PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland-based medical documentation service Scribe-X Northwest will pay $80,000 and make significant changes to its policies and hiring practices to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's investigation, 28-year-old Brittany Frisby applied online for a scribe position, got an offer, and completed all pre-hiring screens. But when she told Scribe-X she was expecting a baby several months later, the company's CEO called her and rescinded the offer. The CEO told Frisby that she should have notified the company about her pregnancy because it would not have hired her had it known. She tried pleading for her job to no avail, the EEOC said.
Rejecting a qualified applicant because of pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Case No. 3:17-cv-01520-SI, after an investigation by EEOC Investigator Isabel Jeremiah and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides Frisby with $80,000 in damages for emotional distress and lost wages, and calls for important changes to Scribe-X's personnel practices. The company has agreed to implement policies that explain employee rights and responsibilities, provide anti-discrimination training to employees with the express commitment of leadership as well as separate training for upper management, and report to EEOC on consent decree compliance. The parties also settled the EEOC's claim that Scribe-X failed to preserve employment-related records.
"Why assume that becoming pregnant suddenly cancels out all the strengths and skills I bring to the table?" said Frisby. "If anything, I was even more motivated to prove my value and excel at my job because of my pregnancy. I'm glad the EEOC defended my workplace rights, and happy to know Scribe-X will make significant changes to its practices."
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney John Stanley said, "Ms. Frisby sought to earn a steady paycheck at a stable job to support a new child. By bringing her story to the EEOC, she tried to right a wrong, and this positive outcome allows her move on and ensures positive changes for current and future employees at Scribe-X."
EEOC Seattle Field Director Nancy Sienko added, "Pregnancy discrimination continues to be a serious workplace problem. This case raised awareness of pregnancy issues, and the settlement gives the company a chance to set the right example for all employers in the Portland Metro area."
Scribe-X Northwest has about 140 employees and, according to http://www.scribe-x.com, serves physicians and other health care providers by providing real-time documentation of physician-patient interactions in outpatient settings.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.