EEOC sues Savi Technology for pregnancy discrimination; company disputes charges

Alexandria-based analytics firm Savi Technology has been accused by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of discriminating against a female job applicant who had recently given birth, a claim the company disputes.

The complaint, contained in a lawsuit made public by the EEOC on Aug. 7, alleges that Savi took back an offer to the applicant to become director of human resources after the woman, whom the commission identified as Christine Rowe, informed company executives she was a new mother, the suit says.

Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

“When an employer learns that a newly hired, or long-term, employee, is pregnant, removing that individual from the job is highly suspect. That Ms.  Rowe had a newborn does not disqualify her from protection,” EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement.

Savi responded to the lawsuit Thursday, saying the company was aware of the woman’s pregnancy when it offered her the job and that its reason for rescinding the offer had nothing to do with that fact.

“The decision was based solely on the fact that the applicant formally rejected Savi’s offer of employment by countering with new and materially different terms, unrelated to her gender or medical condition, that Savi found unacceptable,” the company said in a statement.

As a result, Savi rejected her counteroffer and took back the original job offer, the statement said. The company did not return a call seeking comment.

The EEOC lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent Savi from “engaging in discrimination based on sex, lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as other affirmative relief.”

Since 2011, the commission said it has filed more than 45 lawsuits related to pregnancy discrimination and recovered $3.5 million. The suit against Savi was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Amrita Jayakumar covers federal government contracting for Capital Business, The Post's local business publication.
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