Healthcare Clothing Manufacturer Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charges
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – An Olive Branch, Miss.,-based company that manufactures and distributes medical scrubs and other health care-related clothing violated federal law by discriminating against an employee because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday.
The EEOC’s suit, Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-00201, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division, asserts that Landau Uniforms, Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it subjected Tara Smith, who worked for Landau Uniforms at its manufacturing and shipping facility in Olive Branch, to unequal terms and conditions of employment because of her pregnancy. The EEOC alleges that after Smith informed her supervisor of her pregnancy, she was subjected to frequent reprimands, a negative performance evaluation and eventually termination. The EEOC also alleges that the company retaliated against Smith when she complained about the discrimination.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s lawsuit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and an injunction against future discrimination, among other items.
“The company refused to allow Tara Smith to work simply because of her pregnancy,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “Women should not be penalized for choosing to have a family and employers cannot refuse to allow women to work based on discriminatory stereotypes about pregnancy. This agency is committed to combating this type of blatant sex discrimination, which prevents women from advancing in the workplace.”
According to its website, Landau Uniforms has more than 1,000 associates and its medical scrubs are distributed to retail stores across the country and internationally.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.