The EEOC is suing Tarheel Medical Transport, alleging the Wilson County company forced pregnant employees to take leaves of absences until after their children were born.
The lawsuit claims the policy violates the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).
According to the EEOC, once Tarheel Medical Transport learned that emergency medical technician Samantha Holder was pregnant, it made her choose between taking a leave of absence or termination. When Holder refused leave, the ambulance company fired her. A few months later, office manager and EMT Christina Berdan was given the same ultimatum, even though her doctor had placed no medical restrictions on her activities.
The EEOC filed its suit on behalf of Holder, Berdan and several other women who say they were forced into the same either/or situation when they were pregnant.
The suit seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the women. The EEOC is also seeking a decree barring Tarheel Medical Transport from forcing pregnant women to go on leave despite a lack of medical restrictions.