Jiji, Inc., a Holiday Inn franchisee located in Batesville, Miss., violated federal law when it fired an employee because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Thursday (Aug. 22).
According to the EEOC's suit, Te'Shawn Harmon informed her manager of her pregnancy on her first day of work. That evening, the manager terminated Harmon and replaced her with a non-pregnant employee, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and injunctive relief.
"Employers cannot penalize women for choosing to have a family," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "This agency will continue to work to eliminate this type of discriminatory conduct."
Jiji, Inc. is a Mississippi corporation based in Batesville that owns, manages and operates hotel facilities in Mississippi. A company spokesman, who refused to be identified by name, told The New Tri-State Defender that there would be no comment other than to say that legal representatives would handle the matter.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. For more information about the EEOC visit www.eeoc.gov.