AKAI SECURITY AGREES TO 1.62 MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT IN CLASS ACTION PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION SUIT
by Art Gutman Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology
The EEOC announced on 12/1/10 that Akai Security, the the largest provider of contract security services to the federal government, will pay $1.62 million to a class of 26 female security guards, settling a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC alleged that beginning in 2004, Akai engaged in a pattern or practice of forcing pregnant contract security guards to take forced leaves of absence. They were also accused of subjecting pregnant women to less favorable terms and conditions of employment, including preventing them from completing their annual physical agility and firearms tests or forcing them to take such tests before their certifications had expired. Akal was also accused retaliating against one of the women who complained about the discrimination by filing baseless criminal charges against her. The suit was filed in 2008 (EEOC v, Akai Security, Inc., Case No. 08-1274-JTM-KMH), and the class includes 26 women. Usually, pregnancy discrimination cases involve single cases. As far as we can tell, this is the first class action pregnancy discrimination case since the 1970s (i.e., before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978).