Skip top navigation Skip to content

print   email  Share

PRESS RELEASE
11-25-09

Kohler Company Pays $175,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Plumbing Manufacturer Fired Exec Because of Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged

ATLANTA – The Kohler Company, an international manufacturer  based in Kohler, Wis., will pay $175,000 to settle a gender  and pregnancy discrimin­ation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The  agency had charged that Kohler discriminated against a female sales executive  at its Atlanta Branch Office, which deals with plumbing products, by firing her  due to her gender and her pregnancy. The  lawsuit said that showroom executive Rachel Lee was placed on probation,  despite her qualifications and performance record, and then fired less than one  month prior to her delivery date.

Pregnancy  discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended  by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in November 2006 in  U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting  to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

The  consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief of $175,000,  includes provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting and  postings. In the suit and consent  decree, Kohler denied any liability or wrongdoing.

“The  EEOC is dedicated to ensuring that employers treat all employees equally,  regardless of gender or pregnancy status,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert  Dawkins of the Atlanta District Office. “We are pleased that Kohler was committed to  resolving this matter and taking steps to ensure future compliance with the  law.”

According  to company information, Kohler sells various goods and services with its major  product sales coming from plumbing products.  It has 39 different brands and four major business units – Kitchen &  Bath, Global Power, Interiors, and Hospitality.  Kohler Company is one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States, and has more than 50  manufacturing plants throughout North America, Australia,  Europe, and Asia. Kohler Company has offices all over the world  and employs more than 32,000 individuals worldwide.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information  about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.