American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc. (AMR) recently announced it will settle a federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of one of its paramedics.
American Medical Response Ambulance Service, Inc. (AMR), a medical transportation company, recently agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As part of the settlement, the company will pay $162,500 and provide other relief to the paramedic who was allegedly discriminated against.
According to the lawsuit, a paramedic working for the company in Spokane, Washington “requested light duty for the last part of her pregnancy and supplied a doctor’s note in support.” Instead of giving the pregnant employee light-duty tasks that were regularly available to injured employees, the company denied her request and instructed her to “take unpaid leave or work without any restrictions.”
It’s important to note that companies who refuse to “provide light duty to a pregnant employee when similarly abled, non-pregnant employees are permitted light-duty violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).” When the EEOC got wind of what was going on, it conducted an investigation into the matter and attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. When those efforts failed, the agency filed the discrimination suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
The settlement includes a two-and-a-half-year consent decree that will not only pay $162,000 in compensatory damages to the plaintiff, but will also “require AMR to provide anti-discrimination training on Title VII and the PDA to all its Washington supervisors, safety and human resources personnel and employees at AMR’s Spokane facilities.” Additionally, AMR will have to “revise its policies and procedures for Title VII compliance and post a notice for employees describing the company’s obligations under the consent decree and employee rights under Title VII and the PDA.”
When discussing the matter, EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che said:
“An employer must accommodate pregnant employees to the same extent that it accommodates other employees similar in their ability or inability to work…Pregnant workers should not be forced to choose between losing the ability to make a living and risking the health and safety of their baby by being required to work without accommodation.”
EEOC San Francisco Deputy Director Nancy Sienko chimed in and said:
“Pregnancy discrimination continues to be a persistent problem in the American workforce. Combating such unlawful conduct is a top priority for the EEOC and we will continue working to prevent and remedy it.”
The EEOC is a federal agency that works to advance workplace opportunities by ensuring companies are enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.