Bergen Logistics recently agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $25,000.
A company in North Bergen recently agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit with a former employee for $25,000. As part of the agreement, the company, Bergen Logistics, will “implement workforce policy reforms” to better accommodate pregnant employees.
The lawsuit was filed by a former employee who alleged the company “denied her request for pregnancy-related accommodations, including as-needed bathroom breaks and a 20-pound limit on any items she would be assigned to lift. In addition to her complaint, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR) conducted an investigation and found that Bergen Logistics indeed “made no effort to accommodate her pregnancy but instead required her to take unpaid family leave.” When commenting on the matter, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said:
“Our laws prohibit pregnancy-related discrimination in employment to protect workplace equality and to ensure that workers aren’t penalized for having children…Employers need to be certain they understand and respect the legal protections for workers who become pregnant and want to continue working. We take seriously the rights of all workers, and will hold accountable any employer whose policies deny or diminish those rights.”
In addition, the DCR investigation found other company policies that aren’t exactly legal. For example, it discovered “the company had a policy under which employees were permitted to work only when they had no medical restrictions.” According to the agency, these policies “violate state anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals with disabilities and individuals who are pregnant.
Because of the policy, the company told the employee the only way she could return to work was if she “provided a doctor’s a note stating she had no physical restrictions.” DCR Deputy Director Rosemary DiSavino noted:
“The New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was enacted to prevent the precise harm suffered by the women in these cases…Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who experience pregnancy-related medical conditions must be provided with a reasonable accommodation under the law, and cannot simply be told to take a leave of absence.”
On top of the $25,000 the former employee will get from the settlement agreement, the company must “implement a new anti-discrimination policy consistent with the PWFA and provide training for all employees on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the company’s policies regarding pregnancy-and disability-related accommodations.” On top of that, the company is also required to notify DCR of “all complaints filed by employees under its anti-discrimination policy” every six months for two years.