Workplace discrimination can take many different forms which is why attorneys such as Ty Hyderally spend their time educating both employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities. The hope is that discriminatory actions can be non-existent in the workplace. When employers or employees do not abide by guidelines as they are set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then Mr. Hyderally litigates on behalf of those whose rights were violated. One of the latest changes to laws which prohibit discrimination has been the addition of pregnancy. Just last year the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Thompson v. North American Stainless set the precedent for cases where discriminatory actions were followed by retaliation. This case was used to help decide the case against the Oklahoma based childcare company, Kids R Us.
Shawna Capps began working for Kids R Us in July of 2009. In March of 2010 she informed the company’s owners that she was pregnant. Later that same month, the owners of the company had a meeting in which Capps was informed that they were hiring another administrator at the facility and that show would be demoted from the assistant facility director which was a full time position, to a cook position which was only part time. They cited the reason as Capps had “decided to get pregnant.” In response, Capps files a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. Capps had two relatives who worked at the same facility and they protested the owner’s actions and stated them as discriminatory. Right after Ms. Capps filed the suit with the EEOC, the company transferred Ms. Capps to another facility which was located further from her home which in effect forced her resignation. Immediately following this, the company terminated both of her relatives without explanation according to the EEOC’s report.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so that pregnancy discrimination is punished along with other types of discriminatory actions. The EEOC filed suit and asked for compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and front pay for all three victims. The case was heard in a federal court in Oklahoma. Recently, this case reached a settlement. The child care company must provide its employees training concerning anti-discrimination and revise its current policies with regard to discrimination in the workplace. Kids R Us also agreed to a monetary payment of $75,000 to the victims.
Employee law includes protection against pregnancy discrimination as well as wrongful retaliation such as we see in cases like this. Hopefully, these types of decisions will continue to ensure that employers will be held accountable for discriminatory and retaliatory conduct such as was displayed in this case. Employees should not be concerned about the possibility of being discriminated against in the workplace simply because they became pregnant. It is also a reminder that retaliatory actions which are in response to reported discrimination also bear a penalty. The EEOC is the agency which is responsible for enforcing federal employment discrimination laws.