Employer Withdrew Offer After Applicant Disclosed Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charges
PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland-based medical transcription service Scribe-X Northwest violated federal law by rejecting a well-qualified applicant immediately after it learned she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's investigation, Brittany Frisby applied online to be a medical scribe for Scribe-X in December 2015. She excelled in her interviews, received an offer, completed all pre-hiring screens, and was scheduled to start work in January 2016, the EEOC said. But days after she informed Scribe-X she was expecting a baby in early April, the company's CEO called her to rescind the offer, complaining that she should have mentioned her pregnancy during her interview.
"I was thrilled to get the job offer because my husband and I were just starting our family and needed financial security," Frisby said. "So I was flabbergasted when the company CEO flat-out told me he wouldn't have hired me had he known I was pregnant. I kept thinking, 'This has to be against the law.'"
Rejecting a qualified applicant because of pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination and illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit (U.S. EEOC v. Scribe-X, LLC, a/b/n Scribe-X Northwest, Civil No. 3:17-CV-1520) in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages for Frisby and injunctive relief, which typically includes training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of anti-discrimination notices at the worksite, and compliance reporting.
EEOC Seattle Field Director Nancy Sienko said, "Denying employment to pregnant women is a vestige of the past, it's against the law, and in this case it prevented a well-qualified applicant from contributing her skills at her dream job. Ms. Frisby had so much to offer, and the employer needlessly rejected a worker with a high motivation to excel."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Carmen Flores added, "The law ensures that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions get the same employment opportunities and workplace flexibility that employers grant to other workers with a temporary inability to work. Ms. Frisby deserved an even playing field but did not get the chance to prove herself."
The Portland, Ore., company 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. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.