The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed this month that Crooked Creek & Creekside Bar & Grille in Saginaw, Michigan violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant as a food server because she was pregnant. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the job seeker had prior experience working in a restaurant. She applied for a vacant food server position in February 2013. Her first interview with Crooked Creek went well and she was asked to return for a second interview. When she revealed her pregnancy during the second interview, however, Crooked Creek refused to consider her further for the job, the EEOC said.
Refusing to consider a woman for a job because she is pregnant violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed suit against Crooked Creek in US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. The EEOC's suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the applicant along with injunctive relief intended to prevent further instances of pregnancy discrimination.
This past July, the EEOC issued Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues. The guidance sets out the fundamental PDA requirements that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons similar in their ability or inability to work. The guidance also explains how the ADA's definition of "disability" might apply to workers with impairments related to pregnancy.
The Enforcement Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm.
If you have questions about the PDA, please call CAI's Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.