Florida Company Sued for Refusing to Hire a Pregnant Employee
On November 21st, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against a Florida-based health care company. According to the agency, Regency Park Assisted Living & Memorial Care withdrew a job offer from an employee who accepted a position as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) solely because it learned of her pregnancy. Here, our Miami employment law attorneys provide an overview of the allegations against the firm and explain pregnant workers’ rights under federal law.
Allegations: A Pregnancy Was Disclosed and a Job Offer Was Withdrawn
According to the complaint filed by the EEOC, a female employee applied for a position as a CNA at Regency Park Assisted Living & Memorial Care in Lake County, Florida. In May of 2018, she was offered a position at the company. The employment lawsuit alleges that the prospective employee was in the middle of completing her ‘new hire’ paperwork when she mentioned to one of the managers that she was pregnant.
On the day that she was supposed to start working as a CNA, she was allegedly informed that the company was concerned about how her pregnancy would impact her attendance. Shortly after, she was informed by another supervisor that Regency Park had decided to go with another job applicant who was not pregnant. After failing to reach a settlement with the defendant, the EEOC filed an employment discrimination claim. On behalf of the pregnant job applicant, the EEOC is seeking back pay and other financial damages.
An Overview of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Passed into law in the late 1970s, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended the Civil Rights Act to explicitly protect the employment law rights of pregnant workers. It is unlawful for companies that are covered by this federal law to take adverse action against current or prospective employees merely on the grounds that they are pregnant.
Job applicants and new hires have the right to disclose their pregnancy status without it negatively affecting their ability to obtain a position. Indeed, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is strictly forbidden in hiring, firing, job assignments, and other material aspects of employment. Notably, covered employers must also avoid making assumptions about the capabilities of pregnant workers. Workers should not be denied opportunities to perform and advance their career solely because they are pregnant.
If and when a pregnancy does prevent a worker from being able to perform day-to-day tasks on the job, companies must treat that worker the same way that they would treat any other temporarily disabled employee. Among other things, this could include modifying the employee’s tasks, offering alternative assignments, and allowing the employee to take a temporary leave for her position.
Discuss Your Case With Our Florida Employment Lawyer Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida employment attorneys are skilled, effective advocates for clients. We represent both employers and employees in pregnancy discrimination cases. To get immediate assistance from an attorney, please call us now. We handle employment law claims throughout the region.