These Lawyers Must Have Skipped the Class on Employment Discrimination

I don’t know how else to describe it.

So, I’m going to quote from the EEOC’s press release, but I’ll conceal the name of the law firm, the law firm that paid $30,000 to settle with the EEOC:

The [] Law Firm has agreed to pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the [] Law Firm hired a legal assistant in January 2017 for its Denver office. Approximately 10 days into her new position, the legal assistant disclosed her pregnancy to a lawyer in the firm. The law firm terminated her the next day, after asking if she suffered from any complications due to the pregnancy, would she ‘keep the baby,’ and whether she was acting as a surrogate, according to the complaint. The EEOC rejected the [] Law Firm’s explanation that it terminated the legal assistant because she failed to disclose her pregnancy in the interview, a move the EEOC challenged as unlawful and discriminatory.

Yes, you read that correctly. According to the EEOC, not only did this law firm fire an employee the day after she revealed she was pregnant but it admitted that it wouldn’t have hired her had she been more forthcoming about the pregnancy in her job interview.

(According to this report from CBS4 Denver, the legal assistant was eight months pregnant when she interviewed for the job.)

So, for those you whose jaw isn’t still on the ground, let me enlighten you with a few tips:

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  1. Do not ask an applicant if she is pregnant.
  2. If you learn that an applicant is pregnant, do not ask if she is going to keep to keep the baby or otherwise make a hiring decision based on her pregnancy.
  3. If you hire a woman and, shortly thereafter, find out that she is pregnant, do not end her employment because she failed to disclose the pregnancy during the job interview.

This article originally appeared on The Employer Handbook blog.

Eric B. Meyer

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.