·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Ford Motor Company Hit with Pregnancy Discrimination Allegations

— September 30, 2021

A lawsuit was recently filed against the Ford Motor Company over allegations of pregnancy discrimination.

Ford Motor Company is coming under fire over allegations of pregnancy discrimination. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the automaker “violated federal law when it refused to hire a pregnant applicant to work at its stamping plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois, due to her pregnancy.”

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash,

What happened, exactly? It began in June 2019 when a female applicant “received a conditional offer of hire… to work at the Chicago Heights stamping plant, subject to passing a physical, drug test, and background check.” During the pre-employment physical in August 2019, she disclosed to a Ford physician that she was pregnant. While Ford’s physician “cleared her for hire, the company did not schedule her for her first day of work.” As a result, the applicant “repeatedly called Ford to find out when she would begin working and was given various answers, until she was told in late October 2019 Ford was no longer hiring.

Because of what happened, the EEOC’s suit alleges that Ford’s conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was designed to make it “unlawful to discriminate against applicants or employees because of their sex, including pregnancy.”

The suit itself was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Before filing the suit, the federal agency attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its voluntary conciliation process. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking “back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.”

When commenting on the matter, Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “Employers must treat pregnant applicants like any other applicant and cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman who is qualified for a job.”

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, also chimed in and said:

“Enforcing the ban on pregnancy discrimination is critical to ensuring equal employment opportunities for women and an important priority for the EEOC. Pregnant women should be considered for employment based on their actual abilities, not baseless assumptions about possible inabilities or restrictions.”

The complaint is being litigated by the EEOC’s Chicago and Minneapolis offices under the direction of the Chicago District Office. The Chicago District Office is “responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.


EEOC Sues Ford for Pregnancy Discrimination

Equal Opportunity Employment Commission sues Ford for pregnancy discrimination

Join the conversation!