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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 20, 2009
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the Chicago Board of Education for Alleged Pregnancy Discrimination

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board), alleging pregnancy discrimination in employment against former elementary school teacher Traci Meziere, Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King of the Civil Rights Division announced.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleges that the Board discriminated against Meziere on the basis of sex while she was employed at Norwood Park Elementary School by: rescinding her accrued seniority after she took a leave associated with her pregnancy; releasing her from her position as a full-time substitute teacher and then demoting her to a position with less pay, fewer benefits and diminished responsibilities; and denying her a requested leave associated with her pregnancy. The complaint was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace that is based on race, color, sex, national origin and religion.

"Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, including in the educational system, will not be tolerated, and public employers must take prompt and effective action to stop it," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King. "The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue such violations of Title VII."

The continued enforcement of Title VII is a priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/.

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