Three former female employees of Friedman Realty Group filed a federal lawsuit this past September, claiming they were discriminated against for being pregnant. The suit was filed for the three women in Camden, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to the first employee, who worked at the company’s Prospect Park office, she told her manager of her condition. Subsequently, she was verbally insulted, given more arduous work duties, and was later fired. This same manager was accused of firing a second pregnant employee, who had worked there as a cleaner for three years. Once she announced her pregnancy, she received an immediate negative write-up, and fired three days later.
The third employee worked at the company’s Somers Point, NJ location for two years. She stated that two months after she informed her boss that she was pregnant, she too was fired.
An executive at Freidman Realty Group denied the inappropriate behaviors and said that the company does not discriminate against employees. He said that they valued inclusion and diversity, and treated their employees fairly. According to him, the three women were not fired for being pregnant.
About the Lawsuit
The EEOC’s lawsuit requests that the judge mandate that Friedman Realty Group will specifically not discriminate against pregnant female employees. It also directs the firm to pay both punitive and monetary damages to these women.
Although the EEOC attempted to make an agreement on a settlement with Friedman, it did not succeed.
PDA and FMLA
As an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination against pregnancy, its related medical conditions, or childbirth. Employers may not refuse to hire a worker because they are pregnant; the pregnancy also cannot lead to discrimination of the employee’s salary, benefits, promotions, or job responsibilities. The PDA also forbids companies from not hiring or firing workers because they are pregnant.
If the employee must miss work due to a pregnancy-related ailment, but recovers, the employer cannot force her to stay on leave until the baby is born. In addition, the employer may not prevent that employee from returning to work until a specific amount of time has elapsed after the birth.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 states that new parents can be entitled to 12 weeks of leave. It can be paid or unpaid, depending on whether the employee has accrued the time.
Covered employers must be in the private-sector with at least 50 employees; a public agency without a specific number of employees; or a private or public elementary or secondary school.
Qualifying employees must have been working for a covered employer for one year. Additional requirements can be found at the FMLA website.