Florida Insurance Brokerage Firm Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit for $100,000
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Brown & Brown, an insurance brokerage firm that is based in Daytona Beach, Florida, settled a pregnancy discrimination case. Notably, this case was brought against the company after it rescinded a job offer that was granted to a pregnant applicant. In this post, our West Palm Beach employment law attorneys discuss this settlement as well as some important elements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
A Written Job Offer Was Sent, Then immediately Revoked
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit in this case, Brown & Brown sent out a job offer to a woman who had applied for the position of personal lines technical assistant. The written job offer, which contained proposed start dates and an explanation of some basic duties, was sent by mail. Upon receiving the offer, the applicant responded via email, notifying the firm that she was interested in accepting the job, and that she had some questions about the position.
Later that day, the applicant spoke to a representative from the company. During their phone call, the applicant allegedly asked multiple questions, including an inquiry into the firm’s maternity benefits. She expressly indicated that maternity benefits were important to her because she was currently pregnant. Almost immediately after the phone call, she received an email from the company. The message stated that her job offer was rescinded, on the grounds that the firm needed to have the position filled “long-term”. Further, it stated that the firm appreciated her disclosing her condition, clearly establishing a connection between her pregnancy and firm’s choice not to hire her.
Pregnant Employees Cannot Be Treated Differently, Including During the Hiring Stage
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pregnant workers cannot be treated any differently than are non-pregnant workers who have similar skills and ability to work. This case is especially noteworthy, because the plaintiff was not yet an employee of the company. Still, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and EEOC guidelines are clear; pregnant individuals cannot be treated any differently under any circumstances, even at the hiring stage. In this case, the brokerage firm made assumptions regarding the expectant mother’s ability to perform in the position “long-term.” This is a direct violation of the language of the pregnancy protections in the Civil Rights Act, which was passed to work against such assumptions, so that pregnant workers and mothers have fair opportunities in the workplace. Employers in Florida may not, under any circumstance, base any adverse employment action on a worker’s status as a pregnant person.
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At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of workplace disputes, including pregnancy discrimination claims. If you are an employer or employee in need of legal assistance, we can help. For a free case evaluation, please call our team at (561) 291-8298 in West Palm Beach or at (305) 697-9799 in Miami.