WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with the City of Ville Platte, La., to resolve allegations that the city engaged in discriminatory hiring practices on the basis of sex by refusing full-time employment to a pregnant dispatcher in the city’s police department.
In addition to reaching the settlement agreement, the Justice Department also filed a complaint, specifically alleging that Ville Platte violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating in employment on the basis of sex when it failed or refused to employ a pregnant applicant as a full-time police dispatcher—instead, employing her only as a part-time dispatcher for the duration of the pregnancy. The complaint was filed in federal district court in the Western District of Louisiana. Pending court approval, the settlement will be filed in the same court.
“Women are entitled to equal employment opportunities and should not be denied full-time employment simply because they happen to be pregnant,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased that the City has voluntarily agreed to resolve the matter and to adopt policies and procedures that reflect Title VII’s requirements.”
“Compliance with the anti-discrimination mandates of Title VII is mandatory. Those who hire and supervise employees are accountable for any discrimination which is prohibited by federal law,” said Donald W. Washington, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “As illustrated by this case, we have the ability, the obligation, and the desire to aggressively pursue those who violate those laws designed to end unlawful discrimination in the workplace.”
Under the settlement, which must still be approved by the federal court, the city will pay monetary damages, including back pay and retroactive pension contributions, to the applicant. In addition, the city will adopt and implement a policy for its police department that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including pregnancy, and provide mandatory training regarding Title VII to all officials and employees who participate in granting and/or approving the employment status of prospective and current employees in the city’s police department. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII’s prohibitions extend to neutral hiring or employment practices that, in practice, result in disparate or unequal impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and are not “job-related” as defined by the law.
The continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/.