Dollar General is facing a federal lawsuit after a store manager “immediately” fired a cashier upon learning she was pregnant, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“Since you are pregnant, you can no longer work here,” the store manager told the worker at a Dollar General in Georgia in September 2020, a complaint filed by the EEOC on Sept. 27 states.
The store manager is accused of firing the woman simply due to her pregnancy, assuming this meant she could no longer work as a cashier at the Baldwin-based store, according to the agency. However, she was fully capable of doing so.
Now the EEOC is accusing Dollar General of pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a Sept. 27 news release says. The lawsuit comes after the agency tried reaching “a pre-litigation settlement” with the company.
“A woman’s decision to work while she is pregnant rests solely with her,” Marcus G. Keegan, an attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta district office, said in a statement. “Any employer who prevents a pregnant employee from making that decision violates her federally-protected rights.”
McClatchy News contacted Dollar General for comment on Sept. 28 and was awaiting a response.
Hours after the woman was fired on Sept. 15, 2020, the store manager called her apologizing and asked if she could do “light duty” work for two hours each day, according to the complaint.
In a text message exchange, the woman told the Dollar General manager that she would need more than two hours daily since she would only earn about $100 each week, the complaint states.
“Will that be safe? How many (hours) are you thinking,” the store manager texted the woman back in reply, according to the EEOC.
Days later, the woman received a separation notice, informing her that she was terminated because of “health reasons,” the complaint states.
Darrell Graham, the EEOC’s district director of its Atlanta office, said in a statement that “pregnancy is no reason for an employer to assume an employee cannot work, and employers should be prevented from perpetuating this harmful patriarchal stereotype.”
In filing the lawsuit, the EEOC is seeking to recover front pay, back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the woman, according to the release.
Additionally, the EEOC says it is seeking “injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.”
Baldwin is 75 miles northeast of Atlanta.