A West Babylon woman will receive a $95,000 settlement from KLD Labs Inc. -- an engineering company based in Huntington Station — as result of a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Monday.
The suit, filed by the EEOC, alleged that KLD rescinded a job offer for an administrative assistant position made to Jennifer Clark in 2008 after Clark informed the company she was pregnant. KLD then hired another woman, who was not pregnant, for the job, court documents said.
EEOC is the government agency responsible for enforcing federal employment laws.
The suit claimed that KLD's actions violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion and sex. The act was amended in 1978 with a Title VII section called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy.
The settlement also mandated that KLD take on a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy and offer its employees anti-discrimination training, a measure that Alan Pearl, KLD's labor law attorney, said the company already practiced. He added that the company did not have to admit to violating any federal or state laws.
“It's just a case of wanting to settle a case so we can continue our operations in these tough times without distraction of litigation,“ he said.
Clark said that being turned down for the job initially caused her a lot of stress, and she filed her claim with EEOC on advice from her sister.
“I am more aware of what is a right way for a company to conduct themselves,“ she said. “When I speak to friends and acquaintances and I hear of their difficulties, I let them know what my situation was.“
Cases of pregnancy discrimination filed with EEOC have been on the uptick in the last decade as more women are made aware of their rights in employment situations, said Gillian Thomas, the EEOC attorney assigned to Clark's case.
In 2010 the EEOC took on 6,119 pregnancy discrimination cases, an increase of about 2,000 cases — or 47.1 percent — from 2000.
Clark gave birth to a son, Brody, in early 2009. She is still unemployed, though Thomas said she has been actively looking for a job.