AT&T Contraceptive Coverage Suit Granted Class-Action Status

June 29, 2006 ( - The US District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted class-action status to a lawsuit claiming the exclusion of contraceptive coverage in a collective bargaining agreement between AT&T and union employees violated Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

In its opinion, the court noted that while AT&T provided an HMO option during the period in question that covered contraceptives, the option imposed limitations on health care for Susan Stocking that she did not want.  In addition, in selecting the related time period for the suit, the court noted that this reduced Stocking’s claim for reimbursement to around $68.

However, the court said that, given the size of AT&T, it could reasonably conclude that there were a sufficient number of female employees that would be similarly situated as Stocking, providing incentive for a class-action case to move forward.

As to the charges, the court cited Camp v. Union Pacific Railroad , in which the US District Court for the District of Nebraska ruled that excluding contraceptive coverage did violate Title VII and the PDA because potential pregnancy is a medical condition that is sex-related since only women can become pregnant. The court said it was persuaded by this case that Stockings claims were valid.

The court certified a class of plaintiffs, represented by Stocking, limited to damages between October 31, 2001 and July 2, 2002.

The case is Stocking v. AT&T Corporation.