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Employers in Georgia and Kansas Face Suits for Disability and Pregnancy Discrimination

May 14, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed new lawsuits against unrelated employers in Georgia and Kansas, challenging employment practices alleged to discriminate against an employee who needed to wear an oxygen backpack and a pregnant security guard, respectively.

Disability discrimination. Two Peaches Group, LLC, dba Value Village, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when the for-profit thrift store which operates five locations in Atlanta, Georgia, failed to accommodate an employee's requests for accommodation due to her disabling medical condition and forced her to resign from her employment. Beginning around January 2016, the stocker allegedly requested that Value Village allow her to wear an oxygen backpack at work to treat her symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema. But store management continuously denied her requests. Over time, the employee’s symptoms continued to worsen, so she requested a transfer to a less strenuous position, which also was purportedly denied. In June 2017, the employee resigned her position after being hospitalized, citing Value Village's denial of her accommodation requests as having compromised her health. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the employee, and injunctive relief aimed at preventing future discrimination.

Pregnancy discrimination. Simmons Security and Protective Services violated Title VII by firing a newly hired employee when it learned she was pregnant. The private security service in Kansas City, Kansas, hired the employee to work as an unarmed security guard patrolling downtown Kansas City on foot and by bicycle. Simmons did not know the employee was pregnant at the time she was hired, but soon after the employee started working, the company allegedly learned from a coworker that she was pregnant. Simmons purportedly called the employee in and told her she could not work because it wasn’t "safe," even though she was medically able to perform the job. The EEOC is asking the court for monetary and injunctive relief for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent similar discrimination in the future.