After Disclosing Pregnancy, Employee Forced to Quit and Relatives Fired, Federal Agency Charges
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed suit against Kids R Us LLC, which owns and operates several childcare facilities in Oklahoma, for discriminating against an employee because she was pregnant and for retaliating against her and her sister and cousin.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Shawna Capps, who was hired by Kids R Us in July 2009, informed the owners of the company she was pregnant in early March 2010. Later that month, one of the owners of Kids R Us held a meeting where he informed Capps that it was hiring a new administrator at the facility and that Capps was being demoted from her full-time position of assistant facility director to a part-time cook position because she “decided to get pregnant.” Capps then filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC against Kids R Us. Capps’s sister, Dana Finley, and her cousin, Melissa Capps, also worked for Kids R Us. Melissa Capps protested to the owners the demotion of Capps as discriminatory. Shortly after Capps filed her charge with the EEOC, Kids R Us transferred Capps to its facility in Shawnee, effectively forcing her to resign, and then without any stated reason terminated her sister and cousin, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (EEOC v. Kids R Us LLC, Case No. CIV-11-1095-HE) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and front pay for all three victims and injunctive relief, including training on pregnancy discrimination and retaliation for all Kids R Us managers.
“Despite enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, discrimination by employers against pregnant employees continues to be a problem,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, which includes Oklahoma. “The law forbids the discharge of a pregnant employee who is satisfactorily performing her job and who informs her employer she is pregnant. Pregnant employees should not have to suffer adverse actions premised solely on the employer’s stereotypical and premature fears about pregnancy. The EEOC will not condone retaliation against a person who files a charge or against her relatives, and will take every action to end these insidious roadblocks to justice.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.