Professional Service Agreement

Georgia and North Carolina Employers Facing Disability and Pregnancy Discrimination Suits, Respectively

March 13, 2018

In separate developments, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against an employer in Georgia and a pregnancy bias suit against a North Carolina company.

ABM Aviation, Inc, formerly Air Serv Corporation. The aviation industry cleaning and services provider at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, violated the ADA when it denied an employee a reasonable accommodation and terminated her employment due to her disabilities, cardiomyopathy and acute myeloid leukemia, according to the EEOC. ABM also purportedly discriminated against the employee when it suspended her for absences related to her disabilities.

The federal agency is seeking back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

Center Century Care of Laurinburg, Inc, dba as Scottish Pines Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. The North Carolina corporation allegedly violated Title VII when it refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related work restrictions of two employees, resulting in their termination. Scottish Pines offered light duty or job modifications to accommodate the temporary restrictions of certified nursing assistants (CNA) who were injured at work but refused to grant similar accommodations or modifications to CNAs who experienced pregnancy-related work restrictions, according to the EEOC.

In November 2014, the company allegedly refused to accommodate the pregnancy-related lifting restriction of a CNA and instead placed her on unpaid leave, ultimately terminating her in February 2015 when her leave expired and she was unable to return to work without the pregnancy-related restriction. In December 2015, another CNA notified Scottish Pines of her pregnancy-related work restrictions, including a 20-pound lifting restriction. The company allegedly refused to accommodate her lifting restrictions, even though it had mechanical lifting devices to lift patients and did not prohibit CNAs from seeking assistance from coworkers to manually lift patients. Thus, the EEOC contends that both CNAs’ pregnancy-related work restrictions could have been accommodated.

The EEOC is asking the court for injunctive relief including policy changes at the company, as well as back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for the CNAs.