Medical Transport Company Refused to Accommodate Employee with Pregnancy-Related Disability, Federal Agency Charges
ORLANDO, Fla. – Rural/Metro Corporation of Florida, doing business as American Medical Response (AMR), a Florida company that provides emergency and non-emergency medical transport in the Orlando area, violated federal law by refusing to accommodate an employee with a pregnancy-related disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, the employee worked for AMR as an emergency medical technician when she was pregnant. When the employee began experiencing severe medical complications, including hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness that may include nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration), she asked AMR for light duty as a reasonable accommodation.
However, even though AMR accommodates employees who are temporarily unable to perform their regular duties, AMR refused to accommodate her because its policy was limited to employees with occupational injuries or illnesses. Instead, AMR told her, “if you can’t get on the truck, you have to fill out your FMLA,” the EEOC said. AMR also refused to allow her to receive cross-training while she was on leave.
Such alleged conduct violates both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division (EEOC v. Rural Metro Corp. d/b/a American Medical Response, Case No. 6:20-cv-01678) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief such as employee training on discrimination laws.
“Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to accommodate pregnant employees where they accommodate others who are similar in their ability or inability to work,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District. “When the employee also suffers from pregnancy-related complications that rise to the level of a disability, the employer is under an additional obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.”
Bradley Anderson, acting district director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “Employers must not discriminate against either pregnant women or people with disabilities who request accommodation. Pregnant women should not be deprived of the right to work and earn an income.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.