A Dollar General employee in Georgia was allegedly fired “immediately” after telling her store manager about her pregnancy, according to a lawsuit filed by the federal government against the discount chain.
The Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based retailer will pay $42,500 to settle the lawsuit it filed, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced this week. The Dollar General employee was fired after telling her supervisor about her pregnancy in September 2020, said the agency, which is suing for damages on behalf of the fired employee.
When the clerk spoke to her store manager about returning to work, the manager wanted to know whether it was safe for her to work while pregnant, the EEOC said in a news release Wednesday. Despite assuring her supervisor that she could work, the pregnant worker was not allowed to return and later received a separation notice saying she had been terminated for “health reasons,” regulators alleged.
“Pregnancy is not a reason for an employer to believe that an employee is unable to work, and employers should be prevented from perpetuating this harmful patriarchal stereotype,” Darrell Graham, district director of the EEOC’s Atlanta office, said in a statement. in which he announced the legal action.
Dollar General, which operates 19,000 stores in the U.S., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal, and the EEOC enforces three federal laws that protect job applicants and pregnant workers: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Under the PWFA, an employer must consider any employment limitations of an employee due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Before Congress passed a law guaranteeing the right of employees not to be treated unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, it was common for employers to exclude pregnant women from the workforce, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
A Morning Consult survey of 2,200 adults last year found that 20 percent of mothers experienced workplace discrimination because of their pregnancy.