Company Refused to Accommodate Disabled Pregnant Women, Forced Pregnant Women On Leave and Then Fired Them, Federal Agency Charged
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Allsup's Convenience Stores, Inc., a New Mexico company which owns and operates over 300 convenience stores in New Mexico and Texas, discriminated against a group of pregnant women with disabilities when they asked for reasonable accommodations to do their jobs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. Allsup's also subjected pregnant women to forced leaves and terminations because of their disabilities and/or pregnancies, childbirth or related medical conditions, EEOC said.
According to EEOC's suit, Allsup's violated federal law by discharging Joy Martinez-Pointer and similarly aggrieved pregnant women with disabilities; subjecting the women to discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of their employment, including forcing qualified individuals with disabilities to take involuntary leave immediately upon notification of their disabilities or requests for accommodation; not making reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities; and/or by denying employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities because of their disabilities and/or the need to make reasonable accommodations to them. The company refused the women job-duty modifications, shift accommodations, leave or other accommodations that would have allowed them to continue working during their pregnancies.
In sum, EEOC said, the company failed in its legal responsibilities to treat these individuals the same for all employment-related purposes as other persons not affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions but similar in their ability or inability to work.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Allsup's Convenience Stores, Inc., 1:15-cv-00863-SCY-CG, in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Pregnant workers often have disabilities that are covered by the ADA, and employers must make an effort to provide them reasonable accommodations so they can continue to work," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "Employers must also be mindful that pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that is unlawful under federal law. Employers must endeavor to comply with the law or be subjected to EEOC's vigorous enforcement of it."
EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick L. Newton added, "This lawsuit seeks to vindicate the rights of persons protected by multiple statutes enforced by EEOC - finding and addressing these cases where multiple violations occur is a unique and integral part of our enforcement efforts."
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.