Silverado settles pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $80,000

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Photo: Lauren Bishop - CDC
Photo: Lauren Bishop - CDC

Silverado will pay $80,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Monday.

A company representative told McKnight's Senior Living that it disagrees with the allegations but settled the lawsuit to avoid “years of costly litigation.”

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Silverado violated the Civil Rights Act when it fired caregiver Shaquena Burton rather than accommodate her pregnancy-related medical restrictions. The EEOC maintained that the company could have given Burton, who worked at Silverado Oak Village in Menomonee Falls, WI, a light-duty assignment.

“The Supreme Court made clear in Young v. United Parcel Service that if an employer provides light duty or other accommodations to a large proportion of nonpregnant workers while denying those opportunities to a large percentage of pregnant workers, the employer may be violating our nation's civil rights law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination,” Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC's Chicago District Office, said in a statement in August when the EEOC filed the lawsuit. “In this case, Silverado deprived Ms. Burton of an accommodation that it consistently offered to its nonpregnant workers.”

The consent decree settling the lawsuit prohibits future discrimination and retaliation. In addition to paying $80,000 to Burton, Silverado has agreed to post notices of the settlement, revise its antidiscrimination and recordkeeping policies, report any requests for light duty or other job modifications periodically to the EEOC, and train its managers on related matters.

“Silverado has always taken seriously the need to accommodate pregnant employees, and we disagree with the allegations presented in the case,” Silverado Senior Vice President Frank Russo told McKnight's Senior Living in a statement. “We chose to settle the matter to avoid what would likely have become years of costly litigation.”

Gochanour, in a statement, thanked Silverado “for its commitment to settle this case before the sides incurred significant costs and its willingness to ensure a level playing field for its pregnant employees seeking job modifications, including light-duty work, otherwise available to nonpregnant employees.”

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