EDSI to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy & Disability Discrimination Suit

by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Company Fired Pregnant Worker & Her Husband for Reporting Discrimination

LAS VEGAS-Engineering Documentation Systems, Inc. (EDSI)  agreed to pay $70,000 and to implement anti-discrimination measures to settle a  lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  alleging retaliation, pregnancy and disability discrimination, the federal  agency announced today. 

The EEOC originally filed  suit against the government support services contractor in 2011 in the U.S.  District Court, District of Nevada (EEOC  v. Engineering Documentation Systems, Inc., Case No. 3:11-cv-00707).  The federal agency alleged that a pregnant  technical assistant with a disability was subjected to discrimination and  retaliation at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Northern Nevada. 

Upon learning of the  pregnancy, a management official allegedly made derogatory remarks and denied a  request to move the technical assistant's office closer to the restroom to  accommodate her severe nausea and vomiting.   While out on pregnancy leave, EDSI changed her job description, suddenly  requiring that the technical assistant be certified to carry live ammunition  and explosives, according to the EEOC.   EDSI failed to engage in the interactive process or accommodate the  assistant and terminated her while on a leave of absence.  EEOC further asserted that her husband, who  was employed by EDSI as a lead engineering technician, was demoted and  eventually terminated in 2010 after complaining of his wife's  treatment and participating in the EEOC's  investigation of his wife's case.

Such conduct is a violation of  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  As part of the settlement announced today,  the parties entered into a four-year consent decree requiring EDSI to hire an  equal employment opportunity (EEO) consultant to create and implement  anti-discrimination policies, complaint procedures, a centralized tracking  system for discrimination complaints, and live, annual EEO training for all  management and human resources personnel. Training will be conducted for all  employees as well. The $70,000 in monetary relief shall be distributed to both  alleged victims, who will also have negative references expunged from their  personnel files and EDSI letters of recommendation for future employment.  EEOC will monitor both compliance with the  agreement and the handling of future EEO complaints. 

"Federal law protects pregnant workers who have been denied  hire, mistreated or pushed out of their jobs due to their temporary condition,"  said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which  includes southern Nevada in its jurisdiction.   "All employers should implement effective anti-discrimination policies,  procedures and training to ensure proper protections for pregnant employees." 

 "Workplace  retaliation, in particular, has become an epidemic, comprising 38% of all EEOC  charges filed nationally in 2012 and making up a whopping 47% of all charges  filed in the state of Nevada," said Amy Burkholder, local director for the  EEOC's Las Vegas Local Office.  "Workers  have the right to report discrimination and participate in related  investigations without reprisal."

One of the six national priorities identified by the  Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the Commission to address  emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues  involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations, among other possible  issues.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Further information  about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

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