Awon Phie LLC recently agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
Earlier this week, Awon Phie LLC, doing business as Holiday Inn Express North Padre Island, agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The suit was originally filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In addition to the $30,000, the settlement includes comprehensive injunctive relief, according to the federal agency.
Why was the suit filed in the first place? What happened? According to the suit, Awon Phie LLC discriminated against pregnant employees. The EEOC states “Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.” The lawsuit against Awon Phie LLC violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.“
As a result, the EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. When that failed, the EEOC filed a discrimination lawsuit against Awon Phie LLC.
As part of the settlement agreement, the company will provide injunctive relief, including “hiring an external equal employment opportunity consultant; revising its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal equal employment opportunity laws and regulations; providing anti-discrimination training, including training on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; and posting a notice regarding the consent decree settling the suit.”
When commenting on the settlement announcement, EEOC Trial Attorney Esha Rajendran said:
“We are pleased that because of this settlement, Awon Phie LLC will institute policies and provide training so that its management will better recognize and protect the rights of pregnant employees in the workplace going forward.”
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez chimed in and said:
“This case is a reminder that the decision whether a pregnant employee should work rests solely with her. It is the employee, not the employer, who is responsible for making decisions that affect the safety of the employee and her child.”
The case was overseen by the EEOC San Antonio Field Office, which is part of the agency’s Dallas District Office. The office is tasked with “processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Texas and parts of New Mexico.”