ST. LOUIS, MO (KCTV) – A Kansas City, Kansas security contractor named Simmons Security & Protection Services, Inc. has agreed to pay $15,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in May of 2018 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which charged Simmons Security with discrimination based on pregnancy. Such discrimination violates federal law.
Simmons hired Lakisha Cole as an unarmed security guard to patrol downtown Kansas City on foot and by bicycle in 2016, unaware that she was pregnant.
According to the lawsuit, a Simmons manager asked Cole a few weeks later if she was pregnant and, when Cole confirmed that she was, the manager immediately put her on unpaid leave, essentially terminating her.
The EEOC alleged Simmons told Cole she was too much of a liability to remain employed, even though Cole was medically able to perform the job.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
In addition to requiring $15,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit includes multiple provisions that will ensure Simmons Security does not discriminate in the future.
Simmons will establish written anti-discrimination policies, provide anti-discrimination training to its employees, revise its employment application, and provide notice to employees regarding their right to work free from discrimination.
Simmons must also report to the EEOC regarding complaints of pregnancy discrimination.
“Women, with advice from their doctors, are in the best position to determine whether they can safely perform their job duties while pregnant,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC’s St. Louis District, whose jurisdiction includes Kansas. “Depriving women of employment opportunities based on stereotypes and assumptions about pregnancy harms women and their families.”
James R. Neely, Jr., the EEOC’s St. Louis District director, said, “Pregnancy discrimination remains a real stumbling block to equal employment opportunity for too many women. The EEOC is committed to ensuring employers comply with the law.”