Earlier this week, Multi-South Management Services, LLC announced it will settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $42,500.
Multi-South Management Services, LLC, a property management company based in Memphis, recently agreed to pay $42,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a pregnant employee. According to the lawsuit, the company failed to “accommodate and then fired a pregnant employee with medical complications.”
What happened, though? What led to the employee’s termination? For starters, the suit argues the pregnant employee, who worked as the community director of a large apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama, “began having medical complications that made her high-risk for preterm labor.” In January of 2018, that very same day that Multi-South “officially took over management of the complex, it fired her without warning or explanation.” Understandably, the employee was caught off guard, especially since she had worked in the position for more than four years and had no record of performance issues. Additionally, she was the “only employee at the complex not retained by Multi-South.” It’s important to note, also, that her abrupt termination came shortly after she offered “Multi-South’s management official a doctor’s note detailing her pregnancy-related limitations.”
According to the EEOC, the conduct the company exhibited violates a number of federal laws, including “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” Prior to filing the suit, the federal agency attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, but those efforts failed. As part of the suit, the EEOC sought back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
In addition to the $42,500, the 30 month consent decree that Multi-South agreed to prohibits the company from “discriminating against any applicant or employee due to sex (pregnancy) or disability in the future.” Additionally, Multi-South is also required to “post a written notice to employees of their EEO rights, provide at least two trainings to all employees, and develop and communicate to all employees company policies designed to ensure a discrimination-free workplace,” according to the agreement.
When commenting on the case, Bradley Anderson, the EEOC’s district director for the Birmingham District Office, said:
“Employers must be aware of the intersection between the ADA and Title VII’s pregnancy discrimination prohibitions. This resolution should prompt all employers to review their anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation policies and practices to make sure they comply with both laws.”
EEOC Birmingham regional attorney Marsha Rucker also chimed in on the matter and said:
“Employers should understand that pregnancy-related disabilities are covered by the ADA. An employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate an employee with pregnancy-related medical restrictions, and an employer must not fire an employee because of her pregnancy-related disability.”