Oil Business Company Fired Clerk After Requesting Leave for a Pregnancy-Related Condition, Federal Agency Charged
LAREDO, Texas - Platinum P.T.S., Inc., a Laredo-based company which provides oil/gas testing, measuring, surveying and analysis surveys, and oil and gas exploration and development, will pay a former employee $100,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit, Civil Action No. 5:12-cv-00139, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division, charged that Platinum P.T.S fired a clerk after she requested time off for medical treatment to address a miscarriage. A companion suit filed by the former employee accused Texans Oil & Gas Services, a related company owned and managed by the President of Platinum, P.T.S., of pregnancy discrimination based on her termination.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). Under the PDA, 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. It is a violation of federal law to fire an employee because she became pregnant and then suffered complications. After the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office found reasonable cause to believe that Platinum P.T.S. had violated the PDA, the agency attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Employers must be on notice that it can be illegal and costly to treat pregnant employees differently solely because of their pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney David Rivela. "Employers should not assume that miscarriages will affect employees' ability to work."
Judith G. Taylor, the San Antonio Filed Office's supervisory trial attorney, added, "In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of pregnancy discrimination charges. We are pleased that Platinum will take steps to ensure future compliance with the law."
In fiscal year 2012, the EEOC received 30,356 charges of sex-based discrimination, of which 3,745 alleged pregnancy discrimination. In that year the EEOC recovered $14.3 million in monetary benefits for pregnancy discrimination victims through settlements, plus more monetary benefits obtained through litigation.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available at its website at www.eeoc.gov.