EEOC sues east Texas healthcare provider for terminating pregnant woman

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 5, 2010, 5:43am

TYLER-An east Texas healthcare provider is being sued by the EEOC for firing a pregnant woman due to alleged concerns she would be required to perform heavy lifting and be exposed to toxic chemicals.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Murphy Healthcare III and Frankston Healthcare Center on Sept. 23 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

According to the lawsuit, Myesha Kerr lost her job as a housekeeper after her employer discovered she was pregnant.

Kerr's supervisor stated he would not have hired her if he had known of her pregnancy, the suit states. The supervisor wrote a termination document stating that he feared Kerr and her baby could be harmed from exposure to chemicals and lifting involved with the job position.

"Federal law, however, provides that, in matters surrounding the safety of pregnant employees and their children, decisions curtailing employment opportunities are not left to the employer," the lawsuit states.

The defendant is accused of violating Kerr's civil rights by gender discrimination.

The EEOC is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from engaging in further acts of gender and pregnancy discrimination and for an award of back pay, interest, pecuniary damages, out-of-pocket expenses, non-pecuniary losses for emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life, punitive damages and court costs.

The lawsuit was filed by EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, Deputy General Counsel James L. Lee, Associate General Counsel Gwendolyn Young Reams, Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino, Supervisory Trial Attorney Toby W. Costas and Maryland Trial Attorney Meaghan L. Shepard.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:10cv00490

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