The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) won a $118,483 judgment against a New Jersey debt collector for rescinding a pregnant worker's promotion, according to an agency statement. A federal judge has entered a default judgment against Receivable Management, a Hackensack, NJ firm doing business as Kramer and Associates.
According to the EEOC, Receivable Management took back its offer to promote an employee when it discovered she was pregnant. The firm was charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The worker alleged that the firm didn't think she could endure the stress or long hours associated with being a manager. "Making employment decisions based on the assumption that pregnancy somehow diminishes a woman's ability to perform her job is unacceptable," EEOC attorney Rosemary DiSavino said in the statement.
EEOC v. Receivable Management highlights the kind of bias many pregnant women face in the workplace, despite the number of laws passed to protect their rights.
Two former Walmart workers sued the retailer for allegedly refusing to offer pregnant women the same reasonable accommodation afforded other disabled workers, as federal and state laws require. Nearly 50,000 employees could be affected by the suit. Employers must be aware that pregnancy is treated as a disability under the law.
So far, 19 states have passed laws to protect pregnant workers. Massachusetts is the latest state on the roster, with a bill requiring employers to provide a private area for nursing mothers to breast pump; reasonable accommodation for pregnant workers; and light-duty assignments, if necessary. Employers can expect more states and municipalities to pass similar laws.
The EEOC vowed to continue cracking down on violators of anti-discrimination laws and, so far, has stayed on course. Speculation about the agency's objectives under the Trump administration surfaced leading up to Inauguration Day, but reports offer no sign of a slowdown in casework.