A rehabilitation center recently agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination suit for $146,613.
A rehabilitation center in Dallas recently agreed to pay $146,613 to settle a lawsuit that alleged it fired an employee after she requested time off to recover from a c-section, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The rehabilitation center at the center of the suit was Greenhouse Outpatient Center, as well as its parent company, American Addiction Centers. Together, the two centers agreed to fork over damages and other relief to settle the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
The suit itself was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Prior to the suit, the agency tried to settle matters via its conciliation process. What happened, though? According to the EEOC, Greenhouse had “granted the pregnant employee, a behavioral health technician, a 30-day leave of absence for childbirth.” However, the employee’s delivery didn’t go as planned and required a c-section, which is an abdominal surgery, to deliver her baby. Because of that, her doctor recommended that she take at least eight weeks off work to recover.
Unfortunately, when the employee told the center of her doctor’s orders, she was told “her position could not be held open beyond the 30 days.” In the end, she was fired. In the suit, the EEOC noted the defendant “had granted leave during the past 30 days to non-pregnant employees for reasons unrelated to pregnancy.”
The federal agency added that the treatment toward the pregnant employee violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in the workplace. As part of the suit, the EEOC sought back pay, injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants must also implement policies to ensure nothing like this happens again.
The two-year consent decree also requires the centers to prevent future discrimination and retaliation and requires the Greenhouse Outpatient Center and American Addiction Centers to “provide annual training regarding pregnancy and other forms of discrimination, and impose discipline, up to termination, on any manager who discriminates based on pregnancy or permits such conduct to occur under his or her supervision.”
Additionally, the consent decree has a provision that notes the defendants “implemented a paid parental leave policy and general leave policy, and modified their existing personal leave policy, effective January 1.” As part of those changes, the new leave policies “allow for leave in excess of 30 days.”