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Verizon Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

In one of the largest class action lawsuits involving pregnancy discrimination, telecommunications giant, Verizon, has settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employemnt Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involving thousands of women who claim they were denied service credit for maternity and pregnancy-related leave between July 1965 and December 1983. The suit claims that two of Verizon’s predecessor companies, NYNEX and Bell Atlantic, were in violation of part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and other statutes when the predecessor companies denied service credit for pregnancy-related leave to thousands of women employees by the two companies in 14 states and the District of Columbia. No dollar amount has been determined yet, but estimates range in the millions of dollars, making it one of the largest pregnancy related discrimination cases in history.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which was championed by Feminist Majority Foundation President, Eleanor Smeal, during her tenure as the National Organization for Women President, is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, stating that “discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.”

Sources:

Wall Street Journal, 2/27/02; EEOC News Release, 2/26/02; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/28/02