After suing M&T bank, a former branch manager received a $100,000 settlement, ending the pregnancy discrimination suit she filed against the bank in 2016.
One would think that in 2020, discrimination would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that is not that case, especially when it comes to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Pregnancy discrimination in the workforce refers to discrimination during any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Sometimes women push back, though. For example, one former M&T branch manager sued the bank for pregnancy discrimination and was recently awarded a $100,000 settlement.
According to the suit, a bank branch manager working in Baltimore was on approved leave during her pregnancy for a pregnancy-related disability when she was told her “position would be filled unless she was medically cleared to return to work within 10 days.” To make matters worse, when she did have her child and returned to work after being medically cleared to do so, “M&T required her to apply for vacant positions she qualified for instead of reassigning her to one of them as an accommodation,” the suit claimed.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, further alleged that “at least 24 branch manager or assistant branch manager jobs were open in the Baltimore region when the manager was cleared to work.” Eventually, the bank “discharged the manager because of her disability and record of disability,” according to the EEOC.
As part of the recent settlement, M&T has agreed to pay the former branch manager $100,000 in compensatory damages and lost wages. Additionally, it must also “create a noncompetitive procedure to reassign qualified employees who return after extended leave due to disability.” When commenting on the settlement, Debra M. Lawrence, an EEOC regional attorney, said:
“In addition to the monetary relief to the employee, this settlement ensures that other qualified employees may get transfers to vacant positions as a reasonable accommodation.”
David Lanzillo, a bank administrative vice president at M&T also chimed in on the settlement agreement and said:
“We feel we went beyond the legal requirements to accommodate our employee in this case…We remain fully committed to providing all of our employees, including those with a disability, with a workplace where they feel valued, supported and able to reach their full potential.”
U.S. District Court Judge Ellen L. Hollander presided over the case and granted summary judgment back in September on the suit’s allegation that M&T “failed to reasonably accommodate the manager’s disability.” The judge also determined the former manager was “entitled to reassignment to a vacant position.”