Midland, Texas company must pay $1 million for pregnancy bias

Brinkerhoff Inspections will pay over $1 million for the actions of its HR manager at its Midland, Texas facility after a federal jury returned a verdict against the oilfield services company. A former Brinkerhoff salesperson filed the suit after being fired four days after she told company officials she was pregnant.

During new employee orientation, the HR manager began hitting on the salesperson. She rebuffed his advances, telling him she was recently married. Later, the HR manager called the woman into his office and said a “little birdie” told him she was pregnant. When she confirmed the news, he expressed surprise she was planning to continue the pregnancy.

Four days later, the HR manager and an office manager fired the salesperson, stating the company could not afford to hire another salesperson.

The jury found Brinkerhoff guilty of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. It awarded the salesperson, $167,000 in compensatory damages—and $841,625 in punitive damages.