Rachel Rickert, a convention show model, has filed a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging sex discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).
Rickert claims that Hyundai hired her through her former talent representative Erika Seifred, to work for them in their booth at the New York International Auto Show in April 2017. Rickert told the New York Post that on her second day of work, she was forced to work for three straight hours greeting guests, with no break to use the restroom. During that time, her menstruation soiled her uniform of black leggings paired with a black dress. Rickert allegedly notified Seifred of her predicament and stated that she needed a change of clothes and some time to “clean up.”
In the EEOC charge Rickert states that instead of giving her the time and resources to freshen up, Seifred told her that the client wanted her to take the night off because of her “period situation.” Rickert alleges that she protested because she was being paid hourly and wanted to work. However, Seifred told her she had to go home.
Seifred allegedly called Rickert the following day to say that she was “being let go.” Rickert recalls Seifred saying that the client, Hyundai, no longer wanted her to represent them at the show “because they got word of my menstrual cycle.”
Rickert has apparently not been paid for her work and is upset about passing on other opportunities so she could work at the show for Hyundai. Her charge is against Hyundai and Experiential Talent, the company at which Seifred works.
Filing a formal charge with the EEOC is a requirement before pursuing a lawsuit in federal court for sex discrimination. Now that Rickert filed her charge, the EEOC will conduct an investigation into her charges against the parties to determine if there was in fact discrimination. The investigation can include communicating with the parties, reviewing employment records and statements by any witnesses to find out if the employer’s actions violated the law.
The law, Title VII, prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. This means that an employer can’t make an employment decision because of the sex of an individual. An employment decision includes things like hiring, firing, promotion and pay. New York State and New York City also have laws that prohibit employment discrimination, including sex discrimination.
Since only women menstruate, if the EEOC determines during its investigation that Hyundai fired Rickert because of something related to it, it would be sex discrimination. Terminating the employment of an individual because of menstruation can only affect women and, therefore, may be discriminatory under federal, state or local NYC law.
After an initial investigation, the EEOC pursues very few cases on its own. If the EEOC does not take any action on your charge within 180 days, which is what will likely happen, the agency will give you, or you can request a right-to-sue letter. The letter authorizes you to file a lawsuit in federal court against the offending parties. If Rickert chooses to file a lawsuit, she will have 90 days from the time she receives her right to sue notice.
If you are experiencing sex discrimination or sexual harassment at your place of employment, contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C. representing employees on Long Island, in New York City, and the adjacent counties. We can assist you to file the best possible charge with the EEOC, walk you through the investigation process, negotiate a settlement or represent your interests at trial if that’s what it takes to secure the outcome you deserve.
You can reach employment discrimination attorneys 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. Time may be of the essence so don’t wait. Call Leeds Brown today for your free consultation.