Pregnant teachers illegally fired at Northwest Side elementary, DOJ alleges

(Chicago)  Pregnant teachers at a Northwest Side elementary school were fired in violation of the law when they announced their pregnancies, the U.S. Justice Department alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges pregnant teachers at Scammon Elementary School were given lower performance evaluations, disciplined, threatened with termination and in eight cases fired or forced to leave by principal Mary Weaver and the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The firings and discipline violated the Civil Rights Act, which explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against female employees due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, the feds say.

The feds want a judge to impose a court order requiring the board to put in place policies to end discrimination against pregnant teachers, plus compensation for the teachers who were harmed by the alleged discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed after two teachers who were pregnant while working at Scammon filed sex discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found “reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred” at Scammon.

“No woman should have to make a choice between her job and having a family,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division said in a news release. “Federal law requires employers to maintain a workplace free of discrimination on the basis of sex.”

“Despite much progress, we continue to see the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices in the workplace,” added EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang.


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