Ambulance Company Refused to Provide Light Duty to Pregnant Paramedic, Federal Agency Charges
SPOKANE, Wash. - The largest ambulance service provider in the nation, American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc. (AMR), violated federal law when it refused to accommodate a worker's pregnancy-related medical restrictions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, a paramedic working for AMR in Spokane, Wash., requested light duty for the last part of her pregnancy, and supplied a doctor's note in support of her request. Rather than assign her the light duty tasks regularly available to AMR employees injured on the job, the company denied her request and instead directed her to either take unpaid leave or work without any restrictions.
Refusing to provide light duty to a pregnant employee when similarly abled, non-pregnant employees are allowed light duty violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-258) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, and seeks monetary damages on behalf of the paramedic; training on anti-discrimination laws; posting of anti-discrimination notices at the worksite; and other injunctive relief.
"Our investigation found that AMR had a robust practice of providing light duty work assignments to workers with similar restrictions because they sustained injuries on the job, or even off the job," said Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC's Seattle Field Office. "But AMR refused to offer light duty to this paramedic, who faced similar restrictions due to her pregnancy. Such pregnancy-related distinctions violate federal law."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che said, "The law makes it clear that an employer must accommodate pregnant employees to the same extent that it accommodates other employees with similar abilities or inabilities to work. Accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a key component of the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan to address 'Selected Emerging and Developing Issues.'"
According to company information, AMR is the largest ambulance service provider in the nation, with locations throughout the United States. AMR is a medical transportation company that provides and manages community-based medical transportation services, including emergency (911), non-emergency and managed transportation, fixed-wing air ambulance and disaster response. According to its website, https://www.amr.net/about, In March 2018, AMR became a subsidiary of Global Medical Response, the largest medical transportation company in the world.