NC Woman to Get $300,000 for Pregnancy Discrimination

April 1, 2009 ( - Britthaven, Inc., a Kinston, North Carolina-based nursing home and assisted living chain, will pay $300,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

An EEOC announcement said it claimed that Britthaven had, since at least 2002, subjected pregnant employees to different terms and conditions of employment than its non?pregnant employees. Specifically, the EEOC said that upon learning that an employee was pregnant, the company required Katherine Hance to obtain full medical clearance in order to continue working.

As a result of this practice, Hance and other pregnant women were forced to take medical leave or were terminated despite the fact that they were fully capable of performing their job duties, the EEOC alleged, according to the announcement.

Hance worked at the Carolina Commons facility in Greensboro. In addition to the Carolina Commons facility, Britthaven operates 53 other nursing and assisted living facilities in North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky.

“Working women who chose to have children, should not be penalized or treated differently than other employees simply because they are pregnant,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, in the announcement. “Employers must remember that paternalistic attitudes toward pregnant employees that result in unequal treatment at work violate federal law.”