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EEOC Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Olam for $140K

March 17, 2012

Our Santa Ana, California employment lawyers, managed by partner Vincent Howard, recently provided a detailed look into the federal employment laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and the role that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plays in enforcing these federal laws.

According to the EEOC, pregnancy discrimination is the different or unfavorable treatment of a female job applicant or employee due to pregnancy, a medical condition that is directly related to pregnancy, or childbirth--discriminatory treatment that is illegal under federal law.

This week the EEOC settled a California pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $140,000 and other relief, after a female job applicant was reportedly denied employment at Fresno-based Olam Americas, Inc., the leading supplier and processor of food ingredients and agricultural products in the U.S.

According to the EEOC, the female job applicant was originally offered the position of an executive assistant at Olam in December of 2010. The EEOC states that within a short amount of time after the female employee disclosed the fact that she was pregnant, Olam took back its employment offer, and instead selected another candidate for the executive assistant job who was not pregnant.

As Vincent Howard wrote in a recent Laguna Hills employment attorneys blog, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), it is unlawful to discriminate against a job applicant or employee based on sex or pregnancy. The EEOC states that employers should hire the best possible job applicants who are qualified for the job, regardless of the individual's gender or pregnancy. The EEOC is dedicated to ensuring that women who become pregnant are not subjected to discrimination, harassment or stereotypes in the workplace.

If a female employee is temporarily unable to perform her employment duties due to childbirth or a medical condition that is directly related to pregnancy, the employer is required by law to treat her in the same manner that other employees who are temporarily disabled are treated--such as providing alternative assignments, light duties, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees, if this is what the employer does for other employees who are temporarily disabled.

Under the three-year consent decree outlined by the EEOC, Olam settled the lawsuit for $14,000, and agreed to designate an equal employment opportunity (EEO) official in order to design procedures for handling complaints of sex discrimination, to ensure that discrimination complaints are handled properly, and to hold both the human resources and management staff accountable for failing to comply with these policies. EEO training must also be offered every year to all employees at the six different manufacturing plants in northern and central California, as well as more specific EEO training for the human resources and management staff.

Contact labor and employment lawyer Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today, in cities throughout Orange County, California.

Agricultural Supplier Olam Settles EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit for $140,000 in Fresno, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Press Release, March 15, 2012

Related Web Resources:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination, (EEOC)

Pregnancy Discrimination, (EEOC)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

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