Federal Agency Charges Pet Food Company Fired Lab Technician Due to Pregnancy
LITTLE ROCK - Triple T Foods, an Arkansas pet food processor, violated federal law by firing a female lab technician because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the technician worked in the quality control section of Triple T's Springdale, Ark., plant where the company processes meat by-products used in pet food. Approximately one month after she was hired, the employee told Triple T's management she was pregnant. Later that same day, the company terminated her employment.
Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, (Civil Action No. 5:13-cv-05198) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to grant a permanent injunction enjoining the defendant from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates against an employee on the basis of pregnancy. The lawsuit further asks the court to grant appropriate back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and any other such relief the court deems necessary and proper.
"Triple T fired this employee the same day she informed the company she was pregnant for no legitimate or legal reason," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. "Pregnant women should not have to fear that they will be subjected to this type of conduct by their employers."
According to its website, the company is a Kansas corporation doing business in Arkansas, with a headquarters in Frontenac, Kan. It was founded in 1976 and is a processing facility for leading brands of dog and cat food.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.