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EEOC sues law firm for rescinding job offer to pregnant woman

Commission recently announced plan to strengthen protection for pregnant women

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit against a Washington, D.C., law firm for rescinding a job offer it made to a candidate after learning she was pregnant.

The EEOC’s complaint lays out an interesting story. In January 2011, James E. Brown & Associates offered Zorayda J. Moreira-Smith a job as an associate. On Jan. 6, Moreira-Smith emailed the firm’s business manager to go over several questions, including the firm’s maternity leave policy. In that email, she told the business manager she was six months pregnant.

Later that day, the business manager sent Moreira-Smith an email rescinding the offer. The firm continued to advertise the position for two more months and ultimately hired two associates who were not pregnant.

“Working women who choose to have children cannot be penalized or treated differently from other employees simply because they are pregnant,” Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, said in a statement. “Employers must remember that refusing to hire a woman because she is pregnant violates federal law, and the EEOC will enforce that law.”

Earlier this week, the commission announced it will be increasing its efforts to boost workplace-discrimination protections for pregnant women and people caring for relatives.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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