A federal judge Friday ordered a Portland company to pay a woman $80,000 for lost wages and damages for rescinding a job offer after learning she was pregnant.
Under a consent decree signed by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon, the company Scribe X also must adopt written non-discriminatory guidelines, train its employees on them and make them visible on job applications.
The company must pay Brittany Frisby $25,000 for lost wages and $55,000 for damages, alter its records to show Frisby voluntarily resigned from a medical scribe job and is eligible to be rehired and provide her with a positive reference if needed.
A medical scribe serves as a personal assistant to a physician, gathering information for a patient’s visit and updating health records in an electronic database.
The judge’s order came after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal pregnancy discrimination complaint against the company on Frisby’s behalf in U.S. District Court in Portland.
The company had given Frisby a written offer for a medical scribe position on Dec. 31, 2015. She accepted the offer, completed pre-hire screening and was added to the company’s office email system, scheduled to start on Jan. 11, 2016.
On Jan. 4, 2016, Frisby notified the company she was pregnant and would need maternity leave several months later, likely in April, according to court records.
Four days later, the company’s owner and chief executive officer called Frisby and rescinded her job offer. The owner told Frisby that had the company known of her pregnancy during the hiring process, it wouldn’t have offered her the job, according to the complaint by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
The federal commission also found the company failed to keep records about Frisby’s interview, application for the job or notes from hiring managers or supervisors as required.
The consent decree further prohibits the company from engaging in any practices that constitute discrimination in violation of Title VII based on an employee or applicant’s sex or pregnancy and requires the company to maintain applicants’ records.
Although Scribe-X has agreed to abide by the conditions, the company denies it engaged in discrimination.
According to the company, the job offer was for a one-year medical scribe position. Scribe admits it withdrew its offer to Frisby “based on her unavailability to meet the required one-year commitment,” according to court records.
Scribe further informed Frisby that the company would be willing to delay her start date until she was ready to commit for a full year, a Scribe attorney wrote in the company’s answer to the federal complaint.
On Friday, attorney Dexter J. Pearce, representing Scribe, declined comment on the company’s behalf.
Frisby, 31, of Hillsboro, said she “just wanted to close” this chapter and declined further comment Friday. The federal commission’s lawyers involved in the case did not respond to requests for comment.
— Maxine Bernstein
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