EEOC Sues AMR For Pregnancy Discrimination

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against American Medical Response, accusing it of discriminating against pregnant workers. The suit was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on behalf of Katherine Hall, a paramedic for AMR in Spokane.

According to the complaint, Hall requested a light duty assignment during the late stages of her pregnancy in June, 2017. At the time AMR provided light duty assignments for employees who were injured at work, but denied such an assignment to Hall.

According to a press release issued by the EEOC: “Rather than assign her the light duty tasks regularly available to AMR employees injured on the job, the company denied her request and instead directed her to either take unpaid leave or work without any restrictions.”

The EEOC attempted to negotiate a resolution of the matter with AMR, but according to the complaint “was unable to secure from Defendant a conciliation agreement acceptable to the Commission.” The complaint seeks a permanent injunction enjoining further acts of pregnancy and/or gender discrimination, implementation of new policies that meet EEOC requirements, the payment of monetary damages to Hall, and an award of punitive damages.

The press release quoted Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, as saying:

  • “Our investigation found that AMR had a robust practice of providing light duty work assignments to workers with similar restrictions because they sustained injuries on the job, or even off the job.”
  • “But AMR refused to offer light duty to this paramedic, who faced similar restrictions due to her pregnancy. Such pregnancy-related distinctions violate federal law.”

The press release also quoted EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che as saying:

  • “The law makes it clear that an employer must accommodate pregnant employees to the same extent that it accommodates other employees with similar abilities or inabilities to work. Accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a key component of the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan to address ‘Selected Emerging and Developing Issues.'”

Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Trouble Again in Trenton

Three Trenton city councilwomen who have been at war with the city’s law department, have been appointed to investigate the handling of a lawsuit brought by a former fire captain. Councilwomen Kathy McBride, Marge Caldwell Wilson and Robin Vaughn were appointed last week by the full council to serve as an investigative sub-committee into a suit brought by former captain Michael Strycharz.

Albany Prevails In Suit Over Demolition of Building After Fire

The US District Court for the Northern District of NY has concluded that the Albany Fire Department and the City were within their rights to order the demolition of a vacant rowhouse after it was badly damaged in a 2011 fire. The suit filed by the building’s owners accused the city of depriving them of their property without due process.