CAMDEN, N.J. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Oct. 4 against Freidman Reality Group Inc., a real estate investment firm, for allegations of firing at least three employees because of their pregnancies.
"It's bad for society when an employer deprives hard-working women and their families of their livelihood because of pregnancy,” said EEOC district director Kevin Berry. “The EEOC is here to defend the rights of pregnant workers."
According to the EEOC, Brianna Mazzella was a leasing agent at the company’s facility in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. She allegedly received performance-based salary increases as part of the job. When she told a regional property manager she was pregnant in mid-March 2013, the manager purportedly made disparaging remarks about pregnancy.
According to the EEOC, the manager then subjected Mazzella to unwarranted job scrutiny and unrealistic deadlines and goals. The company purportedly fired her because of her pregnancy in August 2013. The EEOC contends at least two other women have been fired at Freidman as well because of their pregnancies.
"These women were doing a good job, but Friedman fired them when they needed their salaries the most - as they were preparing to support a growing family. That's unjust and against federal law," said EEOC Philadelphia District Office regional attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
The EEOC seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Mazzella and other class members, as well as injunctive relief to prevent further discrimination by Freidman.