BE KIND TO MOMMIES « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



Pregnancy Discrimination Is a Really Bad Idea

Pregnancy remains one of the most clearly protected classifications for employees, safeguarded not only under general disability laws, but also under laws enacted specifically to protect expectant women. See, for example, Pregnancy Accommodation in California (Nov 2018); Employers with 20 or More on Payroll Must Provide Expanded Parental Leave (December 2017); Expanded Pregnancy Health Benefits for Most California Employees (October 2011). Refusing to hire someone or otherwise taking adverse action because of pregnancy is an excellent way to trigger repercussions from government agencies as well as the person targeted.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just announced an $80,000 consent decree entered into with Scribe-X Northwest (Scribe-X) of Portland, Oregon over its refusal to hire a pregnant woman, Brittany Frisby. After the company hired Ms. Frisby to start work as a medical transcriber in January 2016, she mentioned that she was pregnant. The CEO then called her personally to tell her the job offer was rescinded and the company would not have hired her if it had known.

Not only does Scribe-X have to pay Ms. Frisby $80,000 for lost wages and emotional distress because of its Dark Ages mentality, it also must implement policies that will protect such employee rights, train its executives and staff, and report to EEOC on compliance.

John Stanley, EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney, stated: “Ms. Frisby sought to earn a steady paycheck at a stable job to support a new child. By bringing her story to the EEOC, she tried to right a wrong, and this positive outcome allows her move on and ensures positive changes for current and future employees at Scribe-X.”

Company executives must have at least enough understanding of a decision’s potentials to know when it’s time to consult an experienced employment attorney beforehand. In this case, it likely would have taken only a vague notion of discrimination laws to sense that refusing to employ a woman because of pregnancy was a recipe for disaster.

For further assistance, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

June 21, 2019