The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Ford for not hiring a pregnant job applicant at the Chicago Stamping Plants in Chicago Heights.
The federal agency is alleging pregnancy discrimination after the automaker made a conditional offer of hire to the applicant, who passed a company physical but then wasn’t hired at the stamping plant that supplies the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch.
“Employers must treat pregnant applicants like any other applicant and cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman who is qualified for a job,” said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District.
Ford did not immediately return requests for comment.
The federal agency tasked with enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination filed the lawsuit in Chicago, charging the woman received a conditional offer of employment at the Chicago Stamping Plant in June 2019 if she passed a background, physician and drug test. She told a physician with Ford she was pregnant in August.
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She was cleared for hire but then not scheduled for a first day of work, according to the EEOC. She repeatedly called to find out when she would start until she was told in October that Ford was no longer hiring.
The EEOC alleges Ford violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discriminating against applicants on the basis of sex, including pregnancy. The EEOC sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois after first trying to reach a settlement.
EEOC attorneys in Chicago and Minneapolis are seeking back pay, injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages for the woman.
“Enforcing the ban on pregnancy discrimination is critical to ensuring equal employment opportunities for women and an important priority for the EEOC,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “Pregnant women should be considered for employment based on their actual abilities, not baseless assumptions about possible inabilities or restrictions.”