ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit May 3 against Simmons Security and Protective Services, a Kansas company that provides private security services, for allegations of pregnancy discrimination.
"All too often, pregnant workers are denied employment opportunities based on stereotypes and assumptions regarding their abilities," Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC's St. Louis District, said in a statement. "This is simply unlawful employment discrimination."
The EEOC alleges Lakisha Cole was hired by Simmons to work as an unarmed security guard. Cole’s role would involve patrolling downtown Kansas City, Missouri, both on foot and by bicycle. After learning Cole was pregnant, the company purportedly told her she could not perform the role because it would be unsafe for her. Cole maintains she was medically able to perform the job.
"Discrimination against pregnant workers cannot be justified by unfounded claims that it is for the workers' protection and benefit,” said James R. Neely Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District. “Pregnant workers, just like other workers, need an equal opportunity to work to support themselves and their growing families."
The EEOC seeks injunctive relief against Simmons to prevent future discrimination, and it seeks monetary and injunctive relief for Cole.