Dick’s Sporting Goods is violating federal non-discrimination law by offering pregnant employees up to $4,000 in travel reimbursement for obtaining an abortion while not offering a similar benefit for women who choose life, according to a legal group.
America First Legal made the allegation in a July 13 letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), referencing an announcement by Dick’s CEO Lauren Hobart that employees who travel to another state for an abortion will be reimbursed up to $4,000.
The group says the policy discriminates against pregnant women who opt not to abort.
“Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, prohibits discrimination with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of childbirth,” the letter says. “The Company’s decision to provide the ‘travel benefit’ – which is properly classified both as compensation and/or as a privilege of employment – to a pregnant woman who chooses to abort her child, while denying any equivalent compensation or benefit to a pregnant woman who chooses life, facially violates the statute.”
The letter requests that the EEOC open an investigation.
“The evidence is that the Company is knowingly and intentionally discriminating with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of pregnancy and childbirth in violation” of the law, the letter says.
America First Legal also sent a letter to Hobart.
“We note with concern that you cited no facts suggesting that providing benefits to facilitate abortions, without making at least the same amount available to mothers who give birth, is in the Company’s best interests,” the letter says. “Rather, the empirical evidence indicates management’s discriminatory conduct on an issue of such intense public interest and concern that is otherwise wholly detached from the Company’s business (selling sporting goods and golf equipment) may needlessly destroy shareholder value.”
Reed D. Rubinstein, director of oversight and senior counselor for America First Legal, criticized the practice.
“Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby,” he said, “is perverse and unlawful.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.