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A woman’s fashion and accessories retailer, The Cato Corp., has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation related to its alleged pregnancy and disability discrimination, the agency said Monday.
An EEOC investigation found the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company had denied reasonable accommodations to certain pregnant employees or those with disabilities, made certain employees take unpaid leaves of absence and/or terminated them because of their disabilities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The company operates more than 1,000 stores in 32 states, according to its website.
In addition to distributing the $3.5 million to Cato employees who were terminated because of their pregnancy or disability, the company agreed to revise its employment policies “to more fully consider whether medical restrictions of its pregnant employees or those with disabilities can be more reasonably accommodated,” among other provisions of the agreement, the statement said.
A company spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
The EEOC said last week that a health care company it had charged with imposing rigid leave policies on its disabled and pregnant employees agreed to pay a $1.75 million settlement.
The U.S. Supreme Court's revival of a part-time worker's pregnancy discrimination suit against UPS puts employers on notice that they should review their light-duty programs with respect to pregnant women.