WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has approved its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. The Strategic Plan serves as a framework for the Commission in achieving its mission to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace. Implementation of the new Strategic Plan will begin in February 2018.

“Through the plan announced today, the EEOC is taking a significant step toward realizing our vision of respectful and inclusive workplaces with equal opportunity for all,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “I am pleased with the hard work of staff across the agency who provided assistance throughout the development of the plan, and I look forward to its successful implementation. I especially want to thank our Chief Operating Officer, Cynthia Pierre, for leading the work group in developing our plan. I also want to thank the external organizations who provided helpful comments to the agency during the public comment period. I said one year ago that the agency would be committed to increased transparency in development of our policies and procedures, and the process for the Strategic Plan contributed to that goal.”

The Commission voted unanimously to approve the FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. The EEOC is the leading federal law enforcement agency dedicated to preventing and remedying employment anti-discrimination laws and advancing equal opportunity for all in the workplace since 1965. The plan serves as a framework for the Commission in achieving its mission through the strategic application of the EEOC’s law enforcement authorities, preventing employment discrimination and promoting inclusive workplaces through education and outreach, and organizational excellence. These three strategic objectives have associated performance measures detailing outcomes to be achieved during the four-year period the plan is in effect. The outcomes are designed to demonstrate the Commission’s progress in carrying out its mission in a time of shrinking resources and an increased demand for its services.

The process for developing this plan has been highly inclusive and collaborative. The plan was created by working groups comprised of staff from the EEOC’s headquarters and field offices, with a broad range of internal and external expertise and understanding of the programs and activities conducted within the agency. The Commission also solicited public and stakeholder comments in the development of the plan. Every four fiscal years, Congress requires executive departments, government corporations and independent agencies to develop and post a strategic plan on their public websites. These plans direct the agency’s work and lay the foundation for the development of more detailed annual plans, budgets and related program performance information in the future.

Restaurant Discriminated Against and Fired Female Employee After Learning She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charges

SAN DIEGO — Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana, LLC, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Encinitas near San Diego, violated federal law when it discriminated and fired a female employee after learning of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an employee who worked at Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana notified the owner of her pregnancy. The EEOC contends that the restaurant subsequently discriminated against her by scheduling her to work fewer hours, resulting in much less pay, refusing to return her to her server position after she gave birth, and finally firing her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana, LLC, Case No. 3:18-cv-00338-MMA-BLM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination at the business.

“Pregnancy discrimination remains an ongoing problem in our nation’s workplaces,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “Employers are encouraged to evaluate their obligations under Title VII relating to employees who are pregnant.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office, added, “Women should not have to choose between their job or having children. Employers need to be aware that the EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously and will continue to protect the rights of pregnant employees.”

Petro-Chemical Contractor Fired Three Brothers Because of Their Blood Disorder, Federal Agency Charges

HOUSTON – Signature Industrial Services, LLC (SIS) unlawfully fired three laborers – all of whom were brothers – because of a blood disorder that runs through their family, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Drew West and Anthony West had been working at the Exxon/Mobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas when SIS took over a contract to perform mechanical services at the plant. Drew West and Anthony West were hired on SIS’s payroll around December 2011. Both have hemophilia A, a blood disorder that does not impede their performing their jobs, but which requires expensive medicine for treatment should they sustain an on-the-job scrape or injury that causes bleeding.

According to the project manager who was responsible for the SIS workers at the plant, SIS’s president and vice president of operations instructed him to fire the Drew and Anthony West once they learned how the SIS’s insurance costs could spike by having the West brothers on the payroll. Because the West brothers had an excellent work history, as evidenced in part by Anthony West earning a promotion and substantial raise during his employment with SIS, the project manager refused to fire them.

A third West brother, Raymond, who also has hemophilia A, began working for SIS at the Beaumont Exxon/Mobil refinery around January 2013. After the plant manager who re-fused to fire the West brothers stopped working at the plant in April 2013, SIS upper management advised the West brothers’ immediate supervisor that if he didn’t fire the brothers, SIS would fire him. On July 3, 2013, all three West brothers were advised by their direct supervisor they were being fired, effective immediately, supposedly due to a reduction in force, although no workers other than the West brothers were laid off on that day.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division (Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00070) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The federal agency is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Signature Industrial Services from engaging in any future disability discrimination. The EEOC is also seeking back pay on behalf of the West brothers, and compensatory and punitive damages and other relief on their behalf, including rightful-place instatement to a suitable position at SIS.

“When workers have a disability that does not impede them from doing their jobs capably, an employer cannot discriminate against them based on fears that treating them fairly may hurt the company’s bottom line,” said EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin.

EEOC Houston District Office Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita added, “Enforcement of the ADA is a top priority of this agency. Workers should never be mistreated simply because they have a medical history or condition.”

Hospital Rescinded Job Offer Because of Applicant’s Need for Religious Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges

DETROIT— The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today that a health care provider in Owosso, Mich., violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer because of the applicant’s religion and need for a religious accommodation.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Memorial Healthcare revoked its employment offer to Yvonne Bair to work as a medical transcriptionist due to her religious objection to an influenza shot or spray. The company denied the job to Bair, who would eventually be working from home, even though she offered to wear a mask, and the company had a policy authorizing the use of masks for those who could not take a vaccine.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees against discrimination based on religion, and requires employers to provide employees with reasonable accommodations to allow them to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 2:18-cv-10523) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking an injunction to prohibit the company from engaging in this type of discrimination in the future, as well as monetary relief on the behalf of the victim.

The EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office oversees Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.