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EEOC reaches settlements in two pregnancy discrimination cases


FRESNO, Calif.—The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday it reached a $140,000 settlement in a pregnancy discrimination case with an agricultural supplier and processor, as well as a $30,000 settlement in another pregnancy discrimination case with a New York-based hair salon.

The EEOC charged Olam Americas Inc., a leading supplier and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, and two of its subsidiaries with denying a job seeker an executive assistant position at its Fresno, Calif., facility because of her pregnancy, in violation of Title VI If the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

The EEOC's lawsuit, which was filed in September, charged that a female applicant initially was offered the position in December 2010, but the offer was rescinded soon after she disclosed she was pregnant. Olam selected a nonpregnant candidate instead, according to the EEOC.

Olam issued a statement that said, in part, it “has always believed that sexual discrimination cannot be condoned, and takes any such allegations seriously. Accordingly, Olam worked diligently with the EEOC towards resolving this matter. In consultation with the EEOC, Olam has agreed to enhance already existing sexual harassment and anti-pregnancy discrimination policies.”

The statement also said, “We take our responsibilities as an employer seriously, particularly when it comes to equal opportunity practices.”

Olam America is a unit of Singapore-based Olam International Inc.

In addition, Warren Tricomi, a New York-based hair salon with locations in Manhattan and Greenwich, Conn., agreed to pay $30,000 and provide a positive employee reference to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC in September.

The lawsuit charged the firm with rescinding an employee's promotion from assistant colorist to colorist and firing her soon after she disclosed her pregnancy.

A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The EEOC held a hearing on pregnancy discrimination in February.

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