Nursing home and rehabilitation operator Symphony Deerbrook, LLC’s $400,000 payment and other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) warns other health industry and other employers about the risk of imposing special pregnancy notice, doctors, release and testing requirements on pregnant employees.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Symphony implemented a policy requiring employees to inform the company of any pregnancy and to obtain a note from their doctor releasing them to work without restrictions. The EEOC also alleged that Symphony denied employees with pregnancy-related restrictions reasonable accommodations and terminated them though other employees with similar restrictions were provided accommodations.
The EEOC charged these actions violatesd the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e(K) and 2000e-(2)(a)(1) and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(3)(C)(4)(a).
The Pregnancy Act prohibits employers from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and requires that employers treat pregnant employees the same as other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
The ADA which prohibits employee medical examinations that are not job related or consistent with business necessity.
The consent decree settling the suit requires Symphony to pay $400,000, which will be distributed among 11 affected employees. The two-and-a-half-year decree enjoins Symphony from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in the future, including denying pregnant workers job modifications available to other similar employees and requiring pregnant employees to obtain doctor’s notes stating that they can work without restriction.
In 2021, Symphony sold the facility to Pearl of Joliet, who agreed for purposes of settlement to provide anti-discrimination training to all its employees at the facility, to post a notice about the resolution of the law lawsuit, and to report to EEOC certain types of information during the decree’s term. The EEOC has not alleged that Pearl engaged in any discrimination.
Suits and settlements like Symphony’s send a clear warning against discrimination based on pregnancy by health care providers and other employers. Healthcare and other organizations concerned about the safety of pregnant women working in particular positions should ask experienced legal counsel for assistance in managing the occupational health and safety risks, if any for pregnant or other employees without running afoul of discrimination prohibitions.
We hope this update is helpful. For more information about the these or other health or other legal, management or public policy developments, please contact the author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer via e-mail or via telephone at (214) 452 -8297.
Solutions Law Press, Inc. invites you receive future updates by registering on our Solutions Law Press, Inc. Website and participating and contributing to the discussions in our Solutions Law Press, Inc. LinkedIn SLP Health Care Risk Management & Operations Group, HR & Benefits Update Compliance Group, and/or Coalition for Responsible Health Care Policy.
About the Author
Recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely known for 35+ years of workforce and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, scholarship and thought leadership.
A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, Vice Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) International Section Life Sciences and Health Committee, Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Scribe for the ABA JCEB Annual Agency Meeting with HHS-OCR, past chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Ms. Stamer’s work throughout her 35 year career has focused heavily on working with employer and other staffing and workforce organizations, health care and managed care, health and other employee benefit plan, insurance and financial services and other public and private organizations and their technology, data, and other service providers and advisors domestically and internationally with legal and operational compliance and risk management, performance and workforce management, regulatory and public policy and other legal and operational concerns. As an ongoing component of this work, she regularly advises, represents and defends employers, PEOs, staffing, employee leasing and other businesses about worker compensation, payroll and other tax, wage and hour and other compensation and employee benefit, occupational health and safety, contracting, compliance, risk management and other internal and external controls in a wide range of areas and has published and spoken extensively on these concerns. She also has decades of regulatory and other government affairs experience with these concerns including defending these and other businesses before the IRS, EBSA, WHD, EEOC, OCR, HHS, state labor, insurance, and other authorities, and evaluating and responding to federal, state and local statutory, regulatory and enforcement actions by federal and state legislators and regulators. A prolific author and popular speaker, Ms. Stamer also is widely recognized for her decades of pragmatic, leading edge work, scholarship and thought leadership on workforce, compensation, and other operations, risk management, compliance and regulatory and public affairs concerns.
For more information about Ms. Stamer or her health industry and other experience and involvements, see www.cynthiastamer.com or contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.
About Solutions Law Press, Inc.™
Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ provides human resources and employee benefit and other business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other coaching, tools and other resources, training and education on leadership, governance, human resources, employee benefits, data security and privacy, insurance, health care and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ resources available here including the following recent updates:
- National Origin Discrimination Judgement Against Dallas Property Manager Warns Other Busin
- DOJ Activision Lawsuit Sign Of Broader Workforce Related Antitrust Risks Under Biden Administration
- EEOC Race Suit Showcases Rising Business Discrimination & Retaliation Exposures
- Know When FLSA Overtime Rate Includes Shift Differentials, Incentives, Bonuses & Other Supplemental Comp To Avoid Pricey Overtime Mistakes
- Providing Or Using PEOs Or Other Outsourced Payroll Services? Review Updated IRS Certified Professional Employer Organization Rules
- Federal Marijuanna Pardons Create Potential Employer Headaches
- Affordable Housing Company Nailed For Sexual Harassment
- Disability Program Sued For Disability Discrimination
- Court Order Shows What Not To Do When Facing A FLSA Or Other DOL Investigation
- EEOC Exxon Mobile Race Suit Based On Nooses Hung In Workplace
- Updated Form 5500s and Instructions Released
- Update Compliance Programs To Meet DOJ New Voluntary Compliance Disclosure Policy Requirements
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT THIS COMMUNICATION
If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information including your preferred e-mail by creating your profile here.
NOTICE: These statements and materials are for general informational and purposes only. They do not establish an attorney-client relationship, are not legal advice or an offer or commitment to provide legal advice, and do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are urged to engage competent legal counsel for consultation and representation in light of the specific facts and circumstances presented in their unique circumstance at any particular time. No comment or statement in this publication is to be construed as legal advice or an admission. The author and Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ reserve the right to qualify or retract any of these statements at any time. Likewise, the content is not tailored to any particular situation and does not necessarily address all relevant issues. Because the law is rapidly evolving, and rapidly evolving rules makes it highly likely that subsequent developments could impact the currency and completeness of this discussion. The author and Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ disclaim, and have no responsibility to provide any update or otherwise notify anyone any such change, limitation, or other condition that might affect the suitability of reliance upon these materials or information otherwise conveyed in connection with this program. Readers may not rely upon, are solely responsible for, and assume the risk and all liabilities resulting from their use of this publication. Readers acknowledge and agree to the conditions of this Notice as a condition of their access of this publication.
Circular 230 Compliance. The following disclaimer is included to ensure that we comply with U.S. Treasury Department Regulations. Any statements contained herein are not intended or written by the writer to be used, and nothing contained herein can be used by you or any other person, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties that may be imposed under federal tax law, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related transaction or matter addressed herein.
©2023 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Limited non-exclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.™