Hilton Grand Vacations Settles EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Employee With Pregnancy-Related Complications Forced Out of Job, Federal Agency Charges

MIAMI – Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC, an Orlando, Fla.-based resort corporation, has agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Hilton Grand Vacations violated federal law when it persuaded an employee to resign her position because of her pregnancy by falsely promising to rehire her after the birth of her child.

According to the EEOC’s suit, an employee who worked as a recruiter for Hilton in Orlando was repeatedly passed over for numerous positions after she resigned due to a preg­nancy-related medical condition. The EEOC said that although Hilton promised to rehire the former employee after she gave birth, the company passed her over in favor of other, less qualified candidates when she repeatedly applied for subsequent open positions.

Employment discrimination because of pregnancy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC, Case No. 6:09-cv-01673-GAP-DAB in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary damages of $25,000 for the discrimination victim, the three-year consent decree resolving the case includes injunctive relief enjoining the company from engag­ing in sex or pregnancy discrimination; requires the posting of a notice about the settlement; and requires the company to conduct training and to report information about sex and pregnancy discrimination complaints it receives to the EEOC for monitoring.

“Women who have complications with their pregnancies need to be treated the same as any other employee with a medical condition,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Michael O’Brien. “Employers must not make employment decisions on the basis of stereo­types.”

EEOC Acting Supervisory Trial Attorney Celia Liner added, “Employers must take firm steps to assure that they act in accordance with the law when making employment decisions. The law requires that pregnant women, and women returning to work after childbirth, are afforded the same rights as any other employee.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment dis­crim­ination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.