The Department today has entered into a settlement agreement with the city of Chicago’s Board of Education that, if approved and entered by the court, will resolve a complaint of pregnancy discrimination filed by the United States against the board under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), national origin or religion.
The complaint, filed in February 2009, in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleged that the board discriminated against Traci Meziere, a former teacher with the Chicago Public Schools, because of her sex/pregnancy in that her accrued seniority was rescinded after she took a leave associated with her pregnancy; and after she announced her second pregnancy she was demoted to a position with less pay, benefits and significantly diminished responsibilities; and denied a requested maternity leave.
The settlement agreement requires the board to provide Meziere with a monetary award of $45,000 in lost back pay and compensatory damages. The agreement also requires the board to draft a fact sheet regarding certain maternity, child rearing and family medical leave practices; distribute the fact sheet and related policies and procedures electronically to all teachers, principles, assistant principals and relevant human resources staff; provide mandatory training on sex/pregnancy discrimination and equal employment opportunity; and retain certain documents.
"The settlement agreement that the United States obtained in this case makes it clear that pregnancy discrimination in the public school system will not be tolerated," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "I am pleased that we were able to work with the Board to establish mechanisms to protect current and future employees from pregnancy discrimination."
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of Title VII. Visit http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp/index.html for more information about Title VII.