Store Fires Woman Shortly After She Announced Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged
NEW YORK - Happy Days Children's Wear, Inc., a company that operates three children's clothing retail stores in Brooklyn and Queens, will pay $22,500 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Happy Days Children's Wear fired a female employee, who had been employed with the company for seven years, shortly after discovering that she was pregnant. The EEOC also alleged that the defendant's multiple and inconsistent explanations for terminating the employee were pretextual.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed its lawsuit against the company in September 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. M & R Children's Wear, Inc., Raquel Discount Stores, Inc. and Duav Children's Wear, Inc. (all doing business as Happy Days Children's Wear)., case No. 09-CV-4212, E.D.N.Y.) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the five-year consent decree submitted to federal Judge John Gleeson for approval, in addition to the monetary relief, all Happy Days Children's Wear stores are required to comply with anti-discrimination laws. The company must also distribute a non-discrimination policy and complaint procedures; conduct anti-discrimination trainings for all employees, including managers and supervisors; and post, in three different languages, notices about discrimination laws and the lawsuit. The company will also be subject to monitoring by the EEOC and must submit annual reports to ensure compliance with the law.
"The law expressly protects pregnant women from discrimination and prohibits employers from taking adverse action against them," said Judy Keenan, acting regional attorney of the EEOC's New York District Office. "The EEOC will continue to fight for these women's rights."
Ami Sanghvi, the EEOC's trial attorney on the case, added, "All employees deserve to be treated equally, regardless of their gender or pregnancy and the settlement will help to ensure that employees at Happy Days Children's Wear stores enjoy that equal treatment."
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.