Maternity Clothes Retailer Settles Discrimination Suit for $375,000

January 12, 2007 ( - The clothing retailer that produces Motherhood Maternity has agreed to a $375,000 payment to settle charges brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming the company refused to hire female applicants because they were pregnant.

According to an EEOC news release, LaShonda Burns, a former assistant manager, complained that the Philadelphia-based retailer discriminated against pregnant women in its hiring practices. She claims that she was later fired because the company thought her to be pregnant and because of her former complaints.

As a result of the settlement, Motherhood will have to pay $135,000 to Burns for compensatory and punitive damages; $50,000 in back pay; $130,000 in attorney’s fees and costs; and $20,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to each of three other women who were refused employment opportunities because they were pregnant.

The settlement also requires the company to adopt a policy that specifically bars denial of employment because of pregnancy. In addition, the company must train all of its Florida current and future employees on the new policy and federal employment discrimination laws; post a notice of resolution of the lawsuit; and report to EEOC twice annually regarding pregnancy discrimination complaints.

The company was accused in federal court of violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

“It is shocking that a corporation whose market is pregnant women would refuse to employ them and then retaliate against a woman who complained about the practice,” said Nora Curtin, supervisory trial attorney of the Miami District Office, according to the news release. “We are pleased that this settlement will steer this important company to better treatment of pregnant employees.”