Default Judgment Warranted on Title VII Pregnancy Discrimination Claim

In Whitehead v. Florida Delivery Services, Inc., Case No. 8:22-cv-1482-WFJ-CPT, 2024 WL 418719 (M.D.Fla. Jan. 19, 2024), the court, inter alia, held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act), and thus issued a Report and Recommendation that their motion for default judgment be granted as to that claim.

From the decision:

In support of this determination, I note that, as explained above, Whitehead avers in her complaint that not long after she told her supervisor she was pregnant and not long after her supervisor told her that he could not accommodate her condition, she was removed from the schedule and then fired one month later despite being qualified for the position and having no performance-related issues. Whitehead also avers that FDS “did not subject the male employees to discriminatory treatment” and did not have a “legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for discharging” her.

Although somewhat thin, these allegations include sufficient factual matter to plausibly suggest that FDS intentionally discriminated against Whitehead based on her pregnancy. See Surtain, 789 F.3d at 1246. As such, the allegations provide adequate grounds to sustain a default judgment on this issue. See, e.g., Key v. Hyundai Motor Mfg., Ala., LLC, 2021 WL 3909663, at *11 (M.D. Ala. Aug. 31, 2021) (“The [p]laintiff has plausibly pleaded enough facts to demonstrate that the very close temporal proximity of her disclosing her pregnancy was linked to the beginning of the [d]efendants’ alleged discriminatory conduct. The extremely close temporal proximity alleged here is enough to survive a motion to dismiss.”) (citing Brungart v. Bellsouth Telecomm., Inc., 231 F.3d 791, 799 (11th Cir. 2000)); Stephens v. Adler Social, LLC, 2021 WL 5084236, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 12, 2021) (“The [c]omplaint contains enough factual allegations to plausibly suggest intentional discrimination. [The p]laintiff’s supervisor’s statements that the owners would not like that she is pregnant, the proximity of the [d]efendant’s actions and [the p]laintiff’s termination to her disclosure of pregnancy, and the change in [the p]laintiff’s treatment immediately following the disclosure of her pregnancy all strongly suggest intentional discrimination.”); DeJesus v. Fla. Cent. Credit Union, 2018 WL 4931817, at *3–4 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 11, 2018) (“[The plaintiff] alleged that she is a member of a protected class based on her sex and her pregnancy, that she was qualified for her position based on her outstanding performance evaluation, and that she was terminated for her preapproved absence to have a medical procedure to terminate her pregnancy. Based on these allegations, [the plaintiff] has pleaded enough factual matter to survive dismissal.”). Accordingly, a default judgment on Whitehead’s pregnancy discrimination claims under Title VII/PDA and the FCRA is warranted.

[Citations omitted.]

Notwithstanding this determination, the court recommended the denial of plaintiff’s separate claims for sex discrimination and retaliation.

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