Teachers Who Battled Pregnancy Discrimination Just Won Thousands

Priyanka Prasad
The school district must now pay thousands in damages to eight teachers who experienced systematic discrimination due to their pregnancies.

school, Scammon Elementary School

Eight teachers previously employed at Scammon Elementary School in Chicago filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court of Chicago, stating that either during or after their pregnancies, Scammon principal Mary Weaver sought to give them lower performance evaluations and find reasons to fire them.

According to the lawsuit, these women alleged that from 2009-2012, “there existed a regular, purposeful, and less-favorable treatment of teachers because of their sex (pregnancies).” Chicago Public Schools now has to pay $280,000 in damages to the women, as well as send quarterly reports of “every complaint of discrimination or harassment related to pregnancy, and every related complaint of retaliation.”

Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, believes the school  district’s stance is “an important step toward ensuring that no woman loses her job, faces discipline, or endures threats because of her pregnancy."

Incidents such as this will hopefully help combat and raise awareness of workplace discrimination, particularly in regards to pregnancy—over 5,000 complaints of pregnancy discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2013, according to Fortune.

To prevent future occurrences such as this, the school district has said it will mandate training sessions for district supervisors. Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Emily Bittner stated that the district is “fully committed to promoting inclusive work environments free of discrimination or mistreatment.” 

Banner Image Credit: Flickr, Jack Fussell