Fedweek Legal

The EEOC reversed the Army’s dismissal of a female firefighter’s discrimination claims in Appeal No. 0120142312 (November 28, 2014).The complainant’s first claim alleged that the Army discriminated against her in May, 2013 when the fire chief failed to provide her with paperwork to file a worker’s compensation claim due to her pregnancy, made a discriminatory comment, and reduced her hours.The second claim alleged that the fire chief has continued to discriminate against from then until the present by failing to provide her with policies/standard operating procedures for pregnant employees.

The EEOC sustained the Army’s dismissal of the complainant’s first claim on grounds of timeliness, but allowed the claim as background information.The EEOC reversed the Army’s dismissal of the second claim, stating that the complainant in fact stated a cause of action by alleging that, in failing to provide her policies and procedures for dealing with pregnant employees, the agency denied her equal access to benefits it provided other employees who experience temporary disabilities.The EEOC cited in support its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, Notice No. 915.003 (July 14, 2014).The EEOC also noted that, even though the complainant had given birth in the interim, the claim was not moot, because there remained a possibility that she might again be pregnant in the future.

This case is a good reminder that pregnant employees are entitled to equal treatment and that the EEOC has rededicated itself to ensuring remedies when agencies fail to follow the law.

* This information is provided by the attorneys at Passman & Kaplan, P.C.