Savi Technology Will Pay $20,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Company rescinded job offer to applicant one day after learning she had recently given birth EEOC says but Savi denies it

EEOC ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Savi Technology, Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-headquartered provider of sensor-based analytics, software and hardware, will pay $20,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  (See Savi’s response which follows)

The EEOC charged that Savi offered Christine Rowe a job as the director of human resources, but the company rescinded the job offer one day after it learned that she had recently given birth and had surgery related to her pregnancy.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Savi Technology, Inc., Civil Action No.1:14-cv-1005) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $20,000 in monetary relief to Rowe, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit precludes Savi from taking adverse employment actions on the basis of pregnancy in the future. Savi will distribute its EEO policy, which prohibits sex and pregnancy discrimination, to all employees. The company will provide annual EEO training to all of its U.S. employees and post a notice regarding the settlement. Savi will also report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree, including how it handled complaints of alleged pregnancy discrimination.

“Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is still a pervasive problem in the workplace,” said EEOC Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein. “Employers would be wise to review the Commission’s recent enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination to ensure that they do not engage in unlawful actions when making employment decisions.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “The injunctive relief and training provisions in the consent decree are designed to prevent pregnancy discrimination. No woman should be denied a job because of her pregnancy or because she recently gave birth. We are pleased that Savi Technology worked with us to resolve this lawsuit quickly.”

According to company information, Savi specializes in providing sensor-based predictive analytic solutions that enable customers to track and monitor high value assets.

The Commission recently issued Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues, along with a question and answer document about the guidance and a fact sheet for small businesses.  The Enforcement Guidance, Q&A document, and Fact Sheet are available on the EEOC’s website.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.

Editor – Savi responded to the EEOC announcement with a denial which is unusual considering the depth of the investigation and litigation to that point.

We also find some Savi statements patently disingenuous which makes their whole statement suspect, namely “disappointed that the EEOC chose to pursue this meritless allegation against a small business.” Savi was a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, hardly “a small business” and since 2012 is owned by LaSalle Capital  a $330 million investment capital firm in Los Angeles. 

Savi Technology Responds to Misleading Statements in EEOC Press Release – After Finding No Evidence of Discrimination, EEOC Repeats Erroneous Claims

SAVI ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 5, 2015) – On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release stating that it had settled its case against Savi Technology, Inc. that alleged pregnancy discrimination against a job applicant.  In that release, the EEOC restated unsubstantiated charges from its original press release on this matter. Critically, the EEOC failed to point out that ultimately there was no finding of discrimination, that the two parties agreed to settle the matter to avoid the burden of further expense and litigation, and that the settlement contains Savi’s express denial of the EEOC’s unsubstantiated allegations of discrimination.

From the EEOC’s initial investigation through the close of discovery – which consisted of ten depositions, 23 interrogatories and the production of 27,415 pages of documents – the EEOC was unable to present a single piece of evidence to substantiate its claim of pregnancy discrimination. In fact, prior to the conclusion of discovery, the EEOC approached Savi seeking to settle the case rather than litigate.

As Savi stated during the EEOC’s initial investigation and established in discovery, Savi extended a job offer to an applicant for the Company’s then-open Director of Human Resources position.   The applicant responded with a counter-offer containing four new and materially different and substantively unacceptable terms, at which point Savi withdrew its original offer of employment.   The facts show that the applicant requested a significantly higher salary, a more senior title, the ability to telecommute several days each week, and a three-month delay in her start date. These requests were far beyond Savi’s original offer and did not align with Savi’s business needs. Savi’s decision to offer the applicant the job – and its subsequent decision to withdraw its offer – had absolutely nothing to do with the applicant’s recent pregnancy.  Indeed, three different witnesses testified that Savi was aware of the applicant’s recent pregnancy prior to extending her a job offer.

Savi agreed to pay to settle the litigation because – unlike the EEOC, which has vast resources in its taxpayer-funded budget to litigate, regardless of merit – Savi has limited resources and decided that it would be prohibitively expensive to continue to litigate the case to conclusion. Savi settled despite the fact that it did not believe –and the EEOC could not prove – that Savi had violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Savi and its employees are very proud of the company’s longstanding family-friendly culture and its full compliance with all federal, state, local, and international laws prohibiting any type of employment discrimination.  Savi believes in equal opportunity for all individuals, does not discriminate against any employee or employment candidate for any reason, and is extremely disappointed that the EEOC chose to pursue this meritless allegation against a small business.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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