Allegations in EEOC Lawsuit: Florida Employer Fired Worker Because She Got Pregnant
On September 26th, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported an employer in Florida is facing a federal employment discrimination lawsuit for allegedly terminating a worker because she got pregnant. The employer is Florida Care ALF of Amelia Island, Inc, an assisted living facility based in Nassau County. Here, our Florida employment lawyer provides an overview of the allegations raised in the lawsuit.
EEOC Alleges a Worker Was Fired After Employer Learned She Was Pregnant
Following allegations of improper workplace practices, the EEOC filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against an assisted living company called Florida Care ALF of Amelia Island, Inc. Among other things, the federal agency contends that the company fired a female employee after management learned about her pregnancy. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against pregnant workers. Pregnancy discrimination can be the basis of a wrongful termination claim. After unsuccessful attempts to settle pre-litigation, the EEOC is now seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to prevent further discrimination.
Pregnancy Discrimination is Barred by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Federal law provides many workers in Florida with legal protections against pregnancy discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law that bars discriminatory practices against pregnant workers. It was passed into law in 1978 and applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Here are three key things to know about the law:
- Fair and Equal Treatment: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most notably, the law mandates that employers must treat pregnant employees in the same manner as other employees with similar abilities or limitations. Employers cannot discriminate against pregnant employees in hiring, firing, promotion, pay, training, and other terms and conditions of employment.
- Reasonable Accommodation: Beyond a direct bar on discrimination, the law also requires employers to make a good faith effort to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions. In this way, the law is similar to the ADA. Employers have a similar duty to provide the types of accommodations that they would provide to employees with disabilities. Examples include modified work schedules and more frequent breaks.
- Protection Against Retaliation: You should be able to report/complain about pregnancy discrimination—faced by you or by your co-worker—without worrying that you are going to be punished by your employer. Employees who exercise their rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act are safeguarded against retaliation by employers. It is unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint, participating in an investigation or lawsuit, or opposing discriminatory practices related to pregnancy.
Get Help From a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney in Florida
An employee should not be treated less favorably because of her pregnancy status. If you have any questions about a pregnancy discrimination claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to a Florida employment law attorney for help.