Company Rescinded Job Offer to Applicant for Human Resources Director Position Less than One Day after Learning She Had Recently Given Birth, Federal Agency Says
ALEXANDRIA, VA - Alexandria, Virginia-based Savi Technology, Inc., which specializes in providing sensor-based predictive analytic solutions that enable customers to track and monitor high value assets, violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer after learning that a successful candidate had recently given birth, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
The EEOC charged that after Christine Rowe successfully completed a telephone interview and an in-person interview, Savi Technology offered her the director of human resources position. The day after Savi Technology extended the job offer, Rowe disclosed to the company vice president and general counsel, who was to be her direct supervisor, that she had recently given birth and had surgery related to her pregnancy. The next day, the vice president and general counsel informed Rowe that Savi Technology was rescinding the job offer, according to the lawsuit.
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Savi Technology, Inc., Civil Action No.--) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In the lawsuit, the EEOC is seeking an injunction prohibiting Savi Technology from engaging in discrimination based on sex, lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as other affirmative relief.
Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein said, "This case is particularly timely, given the Commission's newly-issued enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination."
"When an employer learns that a newly hired, or long-term employee, is pregnant, removing that individual from the job is highly suspect. That Ms. Rowe had a newborn does not disqualify her from protection under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, as it covers mothers of infants," said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
Since the start of FY 2011, the Commission has filed over 45 lawsuits involving claims of pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Since the start of FY 2011, the Commission has recovered approximately $3,500,000 - as well as important injunctive and other case-specific "make whole" relief - for victims of pregnancy discrimination through its litigation program.
The Commission recently issued Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a question and answer document about the guidance and a fact sheet for small businesses. The Enforcement Guidance, Q&A document, and Fact Sheet are available on the EEOC's website.
The legal staff of the Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC has jurisdiction in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, parts of New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.