N.J. company must pay $25K to employee who alleged pregnancy discrimination
A Hudson County fulfillment company will pay $25,000 to an employee who alleged the business discriminated against her during her while she was pregnant, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said Friday.
The now-former employee filed a complaint against the Bergen Logistics of North Bergen, claiming the fulfillment warehouse wouldn’t made reasonable accommodations for her during her pregnancy, including bathroom breaks and a limit on lifting loads over 20 pounds, according to a news release.
An investigation by the attorney general’s Division on Civil Rights revealed the company had instituted a policy saying that employees may only work work then they are not under medical restrictions — a violation of New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws.
Rather than making accommodations for the employee who filed a complaint, she was required to take unpaid family leave and was told she couldn’t return to work unless she had a doctor’s note saying she had no physical restrictions, the Attorney General’s Office said.
“Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who experience pregnancy-related medical conditions must be provided with a reasonable accommodation under the law, and cannot simply be told to take a leave of absence,” Rosemary DiSavino, deputy director of the Division of Civil Rights said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, Bergen Logistics will pay its former employee $25,000, write new policies that comply with the New Jersey Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and train employees on the state’s anti-discrimination laws, according to the news release.
The Civil Rights Division also announced Friday “findings of probably cause” in two separate pregnancy discrimination complaints filed against a medical transport company and housekeeping business.
In the complaint against Exceptional Medical Transport of West Berlin, an employee with a high-risk pregnancy and a doctor’s saying she should not lift more than 50 pounds was told the company does not offer alternative work assignments when someone cannot perform an essential part of their job, the Attorney General’s Office said. However, an investigation found the company had made such accommodations for employees injured at work and that there was an open dispatch job at the time, it said. A call left with the company Friday was not returned.
In a separate complaint against an unnamed institutional housekeeping company, a woman said she was fired after seeking an extended leave of absence under state and federal family leave laws following a c-section delivery.
The state’s investigation determined the company did not accommodate the employee’s pregnancy-related disability and neglected to inform her and other employees of their rights under the Family Leave Act.
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Samantha Marcus may be reached at [email protected].