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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd.

717 F.3d 425 (2013)

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

717 F.3d 425 (2013)

Facts

Donnicia Venters was employed with Houston Funding as an account representative and collector. In December 2008, Venters took a leave of absence to give birth because Houston Funding did not offer a maternity-leave policy. Although Venters had planned to return to work earlier, a complication from the cesarean section required her to stay home until February 17, 2009. While Venters was on leave, she kept in contact with her supervisor and requested that her supervisor ask one of the partners whether Venters could use her breast pump at work. The partner denied the request. When Venters was permitted by her doctor to return to work, she called the partner herself to ask him whether she could use a room in the building to pump milk. Venters was then informed that her spot had been filled. On February 20, the partner mailed a formal termination letter, which stated the reason for the termination was job abandonment. Venters filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. The EEOC sued Houston Funding on Venters’s behalf. The district court dismissed the case on the ground that terminating someone because of breast pumping does not constitute sex discrimination as lactation is not a medical condition under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978. The EEOC appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jolly, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Jones, J.)

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