EEOC Sues Pharmacy Solutions for Pregnancy Discrimination
Pharmacy's Owner Fired Two Pregnant Employees Within Weeks of Each Other, Federal Agency Charges
Tomeldon Company, Inc., d/b/a Pharmacy Solutions, an Arlington, Texas pharmaceutical compounding business, violated federal law by firing two female employees because of their pregnancies, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in a recently filed lawsuit.
According to the EEOC's suit, Arian Lemon, a pharmacist at Pharmacy Solutions, notified the owner of her pregnancy in approximately June 2012. Beginning in November 2012, when Lemon was making visits to her doctor, the owner made a number of remarks about her condition. Lemon was then terminated by the owner in March 2013 while she was on maternity leave.
The EEOC's suit further alleges that a former pharmacy technician, Emilee Stephens, was also fired because of her pregnancy. Stephens informed the owner that she was pregnant by leaving a note for him that included a request that she switch her days off in order to see her doctor. The owner made negative comments to Stephens based upon her pregnancy. In March 2013, the same month that Lemon was discharged, the owner fired Stephens.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Civil Action No. 3:14-03330-L) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief including the formulation of policies to prevent and correct sex and pregnancy discrimination. The suit also seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for the two women.
"This is the second pregnancy discrimination filed by the EEOC's Dallas District Office in the past 30 days," said Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC's Dallas District Office. "I am surprised that this issue continues to be a recurring theme in the workplace in this day and age. We hope that by continuing to increase public awareness through our law enforcement efforts, we will see more of an awakening by some companies about the right of a woman to hold on to her job and to earn a living when she is expecting and during her maternity leave."
EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark said, "An employer violates federal law if the decision to terminate an employee or treat her differently is based on pregnancy considerations. The EEOC will stand for the rights of women to work without fear that a pregnancy will result in harm to their careers."
Since the start of fiscal year 2011, the EEOC has filed over 45 lawsuits involving pregnancy discrimination. During that time, the federal agency has recovered approximately $3,500,000 -- as well as important injunctive and other case-specific "make whole" relief -- for victims of pregnancy discrimination through its litigation program.
The EEOC recently issued its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a question-and-answer document about the guidance and a fact sheet for small businesses. The Enforcement Guidance, Q&A document, and Fact Sheet are available on the EEOC's website.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.