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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against insurance broker Brown & Brown Inc., charging that it rescinded an applicant's job offer after learning she was pregnant.
The EEOC said in a statement Monday that Daytona Beach, Florida-based Brown & Brown made a written employment offer to the applicant and sent her an employment agreement for a personal lines technical assistant position at its Daytona Beach location. The company proposed starting dates of either March 30 or April 6, 2015.
The applicant emailed the department leader affirming her interest and seeking to ask a few questions regarding the offer. About two hours later, the applicant spoke with the department leader's assistant and inquired about maternity benefits because she was pregnant.
“The assistant immediately advised the department leader and minutes later, the applicant received an email rescinding the job offer,” said the EEOC. The email said it “had a very urgent need to have somebody in the position long term … We appreciate you telling us beforehand.”
The lawsuit charges the brokerage with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
“Pregnant women have the right to seek jobs and not be denied employment because they are pregnant,” Robert Weisberg, the agency's Miami regional attorney, said in the statement. “The federal law which prohibits pregnancy discrimination against pregnant employees also applies to pregnant applicants. EEOC continues, with this suit, to seek vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect all women from this kind of intentional and harmful discrimination.”
A Brown & Brown spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has had significant success in addressing systemic discrimination, although future challenges include employers' mandatory arbitration programs and barriers to pursuing class action litigation, the agency said in a report.