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An Employer Settles With the EEOC After a Supervisor told a Pregnant Worker that Pregnancy Made Women ‘Retarded’ and ‘Stupid’

Starting or growing your family through a pregnancy should be an exciting and gratifying experience. The same should be true about pursuing your chosen career field, before, during and after your pregnancy. Too many times, that doesn’t happen. An employer’s concerns about the wrong things regarding a pregnant employee – from the well-meaning (Can she handle the physical strain? Will her job duties impact her pregnancy negatively?) to the not-so-well-meaning (How much leave time is she going to take? How much is this going to cost the company?) lead to wrong decisions that harm the employee.

If you believe your employer treated you improperly and did so because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, you probably are angry, you may be scared, and you may feel uncertain about where to turn for answers. Start by reaching out to a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney with experience handling pregnancy discrimination cases.

B.M. was a woman facing this type of situation at work. When this blog last covered B.M.’s case in 2017, the EEOC had just filed a federal civil action in the District of New Jersey against B.M.’s employer. This March, the EEOC announced that it and the employer had worked out a settlement, which included a cash payment to B.M. for the harm she suffered.

Based on B.M.’s allegations, what she suffered was a familiar scenario for too many pregnant women. She had been at her leasing agent job with a real estate company for five months when she notified her employer of her pregnancy. That was in March 2013.

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms.

Pregnancy discrimination can be seen in overt ways, such as a supervisor’s disparaging comments. It may also be demonstrated in less obvious ways, such as the discretionary everyday decisions like handing out bonuses or assigning job duties.

B.M.’s case allegedly had many of these hallmarks of discrimination. B.M.’s supervisor allegedly made inappropriate comments, telling the woman that “pregnancy makes you retarded” and that “when women get pregnant, they get stupid.” The supervisor also allegedly began treating B.M. differently; giving her harder duties and overseeing her work much more closely.

The employer terminated B.M. that August, allegedly telling another supervisory-level employee that the company “had to get rid of her.”

That evidence was enough to persuade the EEOC to take the case to federal court and eventually enough to persuade the employer to settle rather than take its chances at trial. As part of the settlement, the employer agreed to pay B.M. $60,000 in compensation. That payment is, of course, an important aid for a harmed worker like B.M. As an additional benefit, the settlement between the EEOC and the employer included an agreement by the employer to change several of its employment practices, which may help to protect future pregnant employees working in its office from experiencing what B.M. did.

Even as more women than ever are in the workforce, and many are remaining on the job even while pregnant, pregnancy discrimination remains a disappointingly commonly problem. If you’ve been harmed by this type of discrimination, contact the knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our attorneys have many years’ experience handling a full array of discrimination cases, including pregnancy discrimination matters. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help.

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