Pregnancy Discrimination Case Settled for $25,000
According to an EEOC press release earlier this week, a property management company in Maryland has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit where the allegations were that the pregnant employee was terminated after she requested to discontinue working with certain cleaning products, but was unable to provide certain documentation from her doctor clearing her to work with cleaning chemicals. The EEOC filed suit on behalf of the employee in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in the case of EEOC v. Greystar Management Services, L.P., No. 1:11-cv-02789.
Amanda Lucero was employed by Greystar Management Services and was a housekeeper at an apartment complex. She disclosed to her employer in February of 2009 that she was pregnant. She asked to be excused from working with cleaning products. According to the EEOC, she was specifically concerned about working with undiluted Simple Green and oven cleaner. She was told to bring in a note from her doctor specifying what it was she could not do. She submitted a letter advising that she should minimize her exposure to any chemicals for the remainder of the pregnancy. When she provided this doctor’s note, Lucero emphasized to her employer that she could continue to do much of the cleaning she was already doing, including using Windex and bleach. However, Greystar did not allow her to work with any cleaning products at all and wanted clearance from her doctor before allowing her to work with anything other than vinegar and water. Lucero was removed from her job and placed on the preventive maintenance crew for a time. Lucero was subsequently told to bring a note in from her doctor explaining what was meant by “minimize[ing] exposure” to chemicals. An additional note was thus provided stating that she should use chemicals for no more than 10% of the time at any given site. However, as asserted by the EEOC, Lucero decided on her own that she could continue working and using the chemicals as long as she used a mask and gloves and had proper ventilation. She communicated her willingness to work, but Greystar refused to allow it. When the preventive maintenance work ended, Lucero was placed on unpaid personal leave. According to the EEOC, she had no guarantee of a position within the company after having her baby and was told she would have to reapply to come back to work.
The EEOC filed suit on behalf of Lucero in March of 2013. The EEOC claimed that Greystar’s conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The parties resolved the matter and according to the EEOC’s press release, Greystar agreed to pay $25,000 in monetary relief to Lucero, is enjoined from discriminating against any person based on sex or pregnancy, and is required to implement and disseminate to all employees a policy prohibiting pregnancy discrimination, provide training to all officers and managers at its Maryland facility, and post a remedial notice about the settlement.