EEOC Sues Rainbow USA For Pregnancy Discrimination

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Company Unlawfully Fired Manager Shortly After Learning She Was Pregnant, Agency Charged

NEW ORLEANS-Rainbow USA Inc., a specialty apparel chain, violated federal law when it terminated a manager upon becoming aware of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC contends that the charging party, who was employed as a junior assistant manager, was in her first trimester of pregnancy when she was fired just days after the company learned of her pregnancy-related restrictions. Initially, the company suspended the junior assistant manager indefinitely, then two days after the suspension, she was effectively terminated.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits an employer from "discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect to…compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's sex."  42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) amended Title VII to include discrimination based on pregnancy.

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (EEOC v. Rainbow USA, Inc. Case No: 2:18-cv-09007) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC's suit seeks back pay, along with compensatory and punitive damages from the employer.

"This lawsuit reminds employers that Title VII protects the rights of pregnant workers to be free from discrimination in the workplace" said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston District.

Alexandra Navarre-Davis, trial attorney, added "the EEOC will continue to work tirelessly toward its mission of eradicating discrimination in the workplace."

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

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