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State agency sued by U.S. Dept. of Justice for discrimination

In yet another workplace discrimination case, the United States Department of Justice is suing a state agency of California's neighbors to the east for discrimination in the wrongful termination of an employee. The Department of Justice lawsuit is seeking monetary relief for the employee in addition to a court order requiring the agency to develop and institute policies that prevent pregnancy discrimination and other types of employment discrimination at the agency.

The lawsuit filed claims that a former dispatcher in the forestry division of the state was successfully employed with the agency and received no complaints about her work performance until she informed the agency of her pregnancy. The Department of Justice states that the employee's termination was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Family Medical Leave Act further protects employees from employment discrimination for taking unpaid time off of work for medical reasons, including pregnancy related health issues and the birth or adoption of a child. The lawsuit claims that the Nevada Division of Forestry actually discussed the employee's pregnancy as a reason for terminating her.

An Assistant Attorney General with the DOJ said that no one should be forced to make a choice between having a family or a career and that is why both state and Federal laws are in place to ensure the workplace is free of employment discrimination of any kind.

If you or a family member has been subjected to employment discrimination either on the job or in the hiring process, do not hesitate to consult with an employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights and what you can do to protect those rights.

Source: BLR, "Justice Dept. sues state agency for discrimination," June 26, 2012

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