by Steven Ertelt
September 7, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Bush administration has successfully settled a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit three emergency medical personnel filed against the District of Columbia’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. The three women seeking jobs at Washington’s FEMSD said they had to undergo pregnancy tests and were told they would be fired if they became pregnant while working there.
The Justice Department said the FEMSD illegally told women that their jobs were subject to negative pregnancy test results during their first year of employment.
"Using pregnancy as a barrier to a woman’s entry into the workplace and continued job security is illegal and inexcusable," said Bradley Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Forcing women to choose between their baby and their job clearly contravenes federal law and will not be tolerated by this Administration."
The three plaintiffs, whose names were kept confidential, are emergency medical technicians employed by the D.C. Fire Department. The women all had negative pregnancy tests upon hiring.
When they reported for duty, the plaintiffs attended a training class where a management official told the women in the class that if they became pregnant during their first year of employment, they were at risk of losing their jobs.
Shortly after the training class, each plaintiff discovered she was pregnant.
Because they had been threatened with losing their jobs if they became pregnant during the first year of employment, each woman had an abortion.
The Bush administration intervened in the case and was able to get the District of Columbia to agree to abide by nondiscriminatory employment policies approved by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Program for a period of three years.
The agreement also requires the District to train supervisors on the rights of pregnant employees under Title VII and to regularly provide the U.S. government with information concerning any new civil rights complaints.
The city of Washington also agreed to compensate the three women with $101,000 plus attorneys fees.