published Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Firm sued, accused of pregnancy prejudice

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A federal agency has filed suit claiming a woman was discriminated against after she was fired because she told her Chattanooga employer she was pregnant.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in the suit that Jenny Thosychangh was fired from her job at a Skillz clothing store.

"In this case, the defendant fired Ms. Thosychangh explicitly because of her pregnancy," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, in a statement.

Named as defendants in the suit filed in federal court in Chattanooga were Kevin & J Company Inc. and SB & Company TN Inc., of Atlanta, both doing business as Skillz.

A man who answered the phone at Kevin & J Company Inc. and said he was a manager for SB & Company TN stated that he didn't know why the company was listed in the lawsuit. The man, Joseph Succar, declined further comment.

According to the suit, the two companies operate retail clothing stores at malls. The suit said Thosychangh began working as a retail associate on June 16, 2010, at a store that was in the process of opening at Hamilton Place mall.

Thosychangh worked for 10 hours that day, the suit said. Then, the store manager told the woman to report to work the next day for a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. shift, said the suit.

The next day, Thosychangh asked the manager if she could take her lunch break from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for a doctor's appointment because she was pregnant, the suit said.

After discussing the doctor's appointment with a store owner, the manager told Thosychangh she was fired immediately. She was paid cash for the hours she had worked, according to the suit. She then filed a charge with the EEOC.

The EEOC said it filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Faye A. Williams, an EEOC regional attorney, said that's why it has taken so long to file the lawsuit.

The EEOC said the companies discriminated against Thosychangh and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The agency's suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and an injunction against future discrimination.

Thosychangh could not be reached for comment.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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