A San Antonio-based hospital system has been sued for allegedly discriminating against a pregnant employee when it fired her after denying her request for light duty accommodation for her pregnancy-related medical restrictions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported.
The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that Nix Hospitals System LLC d/b/a Nix Healthcare System (Nix Hospital), a provider of comprehensive medical services, including a full-service hospital and various medical facilities in San Antonio, allowed such accommodation for nonpregnant employees similar in abilities or inabilities to work.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Civil Action Number 5:18-cv-01004, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, Nix Hospital violated federal law by refusing to accommodate the employee’s pregnancy-related medical restrictions, and instead immediately placed the employee on leave. The employee applied for two open desk positions which would have allowed her to work even with her medical restrictions, but Nix Hospital continued to deny her such light duty positions, resulting in her termination.
Nonpregnant employees injured on the job with medical restrictions were, however, granted light duty, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). Under the PDA, employers are prohibited from engaging in sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including making employment decisions based on pregnancy-related medical conditions. It is a violation of federal law to deny work accommodations to employees with pregnancy-related medical restrictions but grant such accommodations to non-pregnant employees similar in their ability or inability to work.
After the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office found reasonable cause to believe that Nix Healthcare System had violated the PDA, the agency attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The remedies sought by the EEOC include back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.
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