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EEOC Sues Siskind Group for Pregnancy Discrimination

New York Apparel Company Fired Employee Rather Than Allow Her to Return to Work After Childbirth, Federal Agency Charges

Manhattan-based apparel company R. Siskind & Company, doing business as Siskind Group, violated federal law when it fired an employee after a brief leave to recover from childbirth, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the EEOC's suit, Siskind Group's management fired a customer service employee because of her pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions that included the effects of an emergency cesarean section. Although Siskind Group purported to grant the employee leave to recover, once notified of the C-section, it immediately began making plans to replace her without informing her. Only after she tried to return to work did Siskind Group inform her that she was discharged, for reasons the EEOC's investigation found were pretextual.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (EEOC v. R. Siskind & Company, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-5175), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorneys Amos Blackman and Sebastian Riccardi and supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.

"Employers must understand that permitting pregnant employees to work is only one part of equal opportunity based on pregnancy," said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District Office. "The law also prohibits employers from discriminating based on childbirth and related medical conditions, which includes the effects of cesarean-section surgeries."

Kevin Berry, the director of the EEOC's New York District, added, "This employee worked through her entire pregnancy, including the day she went into labor. She wanted nothing more than to be able to promptly return to work as soon as she recovered from her surgery. When Siskind Group terminated her instead, it broke the law."

The EEOC's New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.