EEOC Sues Calif. Security Company for Pregnancy Discrimination
11/04/2012 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Attorney Eric Grover // (press release)
San Francisco, CA — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against a West Sacramento security services company, alleging that the company refused to allow an employee to return to work following maternity leave. The employment lawsuit was filed on Thursday, September 20, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, reports Eric Grover, a Bay Area employment lawyer.
The EEOC alleges that Quest Intelligence Group, LLC, refused to allow Tabitha Feeny, a security guard employed with the company, to return to work after taking maternity leave to have a baby in 2008, the EEOC reports.
Feeny, who worked for the company for a year prior to the maternity leave, was allegedly told that there was no longer any work for her and she would be contacted should anything become available.
Although Feeny was never contacted again by Quest alerting her that work had become available, the company continued to solicit for security guard positions and even hired several males within weeks of Feeny’s request to return to work.
The EEOC accuses Quest of violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The agency tried to reach a settlement prior to filing suit, but was unsuccessful and proceeded with the lawsuit.
Dale Price, Quest general manager, said to the Sacramento Bee, “We deny all the charges and plan to pursue it through trial. I’m surprised they are pursuing it, even though they have been telling me for years that they would. I am confident the company will prevail”
Feeny is seeking lost wages, damages for distress, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief such as training for company managers and employees and compliance monitoring by the EEOC.
“Employees should never fear the loss of their job as a result of taking maternity leave,” says Eric Grover, a San Francisco employment attorney. “Working men and women should be able to work, take leave to have children, and return to work without penalty. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is very clear about the requirement to allow employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave and the ability to return to work. There are some exceptions based on the size of the company, length of employment and for certain key positions. These exceptions do not seem to be the case in this alleged pregnancy discrimination suit.”
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