Security Contractor to Pay $1.6M to Settle EEOC Suit
An EEOC announcement said, in 2004, New Mexico-based Akal began a nationwide pattern and practice of forcing its pregnant employees, working as contract security guards on U.S. Army bases, to take leave and discharging them because of pregnancy. The women worked at Fort Riley, Hood, Stewart, Campbell, Lewis, Anniston, Sunny Point and Blue Grass Army Depot.
The agency claimed Akal also subjected the women to less favorable terms and conditions of employment because of pregnancy, including preventing them from completing their annual physical agility and firearms tests or forcing them to take such tests before their certifications had expired. Akal also retaliated against an employee who complained about the discrimination by filing baseless criminal charges against her.
According to the announcement, in addition to the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires Akal to:
- Report to the EEOC about any employees who are required to take a leave of absence while pregnant, are terminated while pregnant, or make a complaint of pregnancy discrimination;
- Report to the EEOC about any physical agility test it intends to implement to screen or requalify employees and whether pregnant employees are permitted to take the test;
- Issue a message from its CEO to all employees along with a well-defined, comprehensive anti-discrimination policy; and
- Provide annual compliance training to managers and supervisors on the requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
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