The tanker trucking company Kenan Transport will pay $27,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Thursday.
EEOC had charged in its lawsuit, filed last October, that Kenan Transport violated federal law by discriminating against a female employee because she was pregnant and by retaliating against her because she made complaints about pregnancy discrimination.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Jessica Williams worked at Kenan Transport's Spartanburg, S.C. terminal as a billing clerk. On Feb. 23, 2012, at seven and one-half months into her pregnancy, Williams had premature labor, which her doctor was able to stop.
The EEOC alleged that when Williams notified the terminal manager that her doctor had excused her from work for a few days, the terminal manager told Williams she would not be allowed to return to work until after the birth of her baby and Williams was placed on leave.
The suit further charged that Williams complained to the company that she was being forced to go out on leave because of her pregnancy and indicated intent to file a pregnancy discrimination charge. The EEOC said that Kenan fired Williams because of her pregnancy or in retaliation for her complaints about discrimination or both. Ultimately, Williams gave birth to her child on March 15, 2012.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, according to the agency.
The EEOC saus it filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary damages, the settlement requires Kenan Transport to revise its anti-discrimination policy, which will be distributed to all employees. The company must also provide annual training to all of its managers, supervisors and employees at its Spartanburg terminal on Title VII and its prohibition against pregnancy discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Kenan Transport must also post an employee notice about the lawsuit and on employee rights under federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as provide periodic reports to the EEOC.