A Dos Palos, California-based orchid grower and wholesale distributor was recently sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for violating pregnancy discrimination laws.
Four Dash Dream Plant Inc. employees, who are also mothers, say that the company fired female employees upon their return from maternity leave. And the discrimination and harassment accusations don't stop there.
A Slew of Pregnancy Discrimination & Harassment Allegations
In addition to firing employees for giving birth, Dash Dream Plant was accused of telling its employees that the next worker to become pregnant would be terminated from her position. The lawsuit also accuses the company of discriminatory comments during staff meetings in which female employees were told that they have too many children, and not to get pregnant or they would be fired.
Pregnant Employees Were Illegally Discharged from Dash Dream Plant
According to the EEOC, pregnant Dash Dream Plant workers were not rehired or reinstated when they attempted to return to work following maternity leave and childbirth. Instead, the mothers were discharged from the company due to their pregnancies.
Pregnancy Discrimination at Work Violates Federal and California Employment Laws
The alleged misconduct by Dash Dream Plant violates both Federal and California employment laws including the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Title VII statute prohibits employers from subjecting employees to sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
"Employers need to be aware that pregnancy discrimination laws also protect employees after they have given birth," said EEOC regional director, Melissa Barrios. "Failing to reinstate an employee after maternity leave and discharging them can be a violation of the law."
On behalf of the class, the EEOC's lawsuit (EEOC v. Dash Dream Plant, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-01395 (E.D. Calif.)) seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, plus injunctive relief in order to prevent future instances of pregnancy discrimination and harassment.
Pregnancy Discrimination in California: For Further Reading
- California Fair Employment and Housing Act - Pregnancy
- California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
- Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination in California: Real-Life Cases
- Pregnancy Discrimination in California: What Employees Need to Know
If you have been fired, harassed or not hired due to your pregnancy, our passionate California employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz are here to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.