“No more babies” and “Pregnant, bye” are bad talking points for your managers

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Even Kramerica Industries knows better than that.

This company did WHAT?!?

One California employer, not so much apparently. That is, in September 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed this complaint in CA federal court against a local orchid grower. And that complaint contains some allegations that’ll make your head spin. Here’s a taste:

In January 2014, Charging Party informed Defendant’s General Manager Boram Jung that she was pregnant. The next day Mr. Jung transferred her to a different position and told her not to lift heavy items despite that Charging Party had not requested any modifications to her job.

Yeah, it gets worse. Way worse:

In early 2014, Defendant held a staff meeting in which General Manager Jung told female employees not to get pregnant. At this staff meeting, Dash Dream President and part-owner Tae-bin Jung also made comments to pregnant females, including but not limited to telling employees not to get pregnant, “no more babies,” and “there are too many babies coming.” General Manager Jung and President Jung also made comments to pregnant employees outside of staff meetings, including, “pregnant, bye,” and telling employees that if workers wanted to work, they should not get pregnant because it was too complicated and that pregnant employees were problematic employees. 

Now, these are just allegations and there are two sides to every story. But, I could see how a reasonable person would assume how this wouldn’t end well for the employer.

And it didn’t end well for the employer.

More from the EEOC press release:

A Merced County orchid grower will pay $110,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

In addition to monetary relief, Dash Dream also agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor who will assist the company in creating, reviewing and revising its policies and practices to ensure compliance with Title VII, including the PDA…. Dash Dream further agreed to distribute the revised policies to all employees and provide anti-discrimination training for both employees and management personnel. The EEOC will monitor Dash Dream’s compliance with this five-year decree.

My buddy Jeff Nowak had a blog post yesterday about how important it is to train your managers on FMLA compliance. Might as well add pregnancy accommodations to that list.

Yeah, we know. Comments like, “pregnant, bye” are stupider than stupid-stupid. But, it’s also a good idea to remind your managers not to force what may seem like reasonable accommodations on pregnant workers. Rather, try, “what can we do to help?” instead. (Works great for ADA situations too). And, if the pregnant employee asks for help, then you can get into a discussion about accommodating her.

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