CCRC to pay $132,500 to resolve EEOC pregnancy lawsuit

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A Pennsylvania continuing care retirement community and its managing entity have agreed to pay $132,500 to resolve a federal pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday.

Landis Homes in Lititz, PA, part of Landis Communities, did not accommodate a request by RN/charge nurse Amy Potts that she be permitted to lift no more than 25 pounds after having surgery for a reproductive system impairment, according to the lawsuit. Lift restriction requests had been granted to other employees who were not pregnant, the EEOC said.

Potts was placed on an indefinite leave of absence and was told to re-apply for employment after she gave birth and no longer had any restrictions, according to the agency. When she re-applied, however, Landis did not rehire her and “engaged in an unlawful medical inquiry,” according to the complaint.

The EEOC said that it previously had tried to reach a settlement with Landis before filing the lawsuit. 

“After consultation with counsel, Landis opted to pursue settlement rather than assert its various defenses through the litigation process,” Allen H. Heinly, vice president of human resources for Landis Communities, told McKnight's Senior Living. “Landis is glad that this case from 2010 has been amicably resolved.” 

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination and requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

“This settlement should prompt all employers to review their reasonable accommodation policies and practices now to make sure they are compliant with both laws,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr.

In addition to paying $132,500 to Potts, Landis will train its workers on the laws, emphasizing that pregnancy discrimination is prohibited and that employers are obliged to make reasonable accommodation. The company also will implement and disseminate antidiscrimination policies, including a policy that addresses accommodating pregnant employees with physical restrictions, to all staff members. Additionally, Landis will post a notice about the settlement in all of its facilities and will report to the EEOC how it handles any future discrimination or retaliation complaints.

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