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M&T Bank pays $100,000 to Baltimore branch manager who alleged pregnancy-related discrimination

Baltimore Sun - 1/22/2020

M&T Bank will pay $100,000 to settle a pregnancy-related discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a former Baltimore branch manager.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement Tuesday and said it resolves a federal disability lawsuit the agency filed in September 2016.

According to the lawsuit, a Baltimore bank branch manager was told while on approved leave for surgery for a pregnancy-related disability that her position would be filled unless she was medically cleared to return to work within 10 days. Months later, after the manager gave birth and was cleared to work, M&T required her to apply for vacant positions she qualified for instead of reassigning her to one of them as an accommodation, the lawsuit said.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, said at least 24 branch manager or assistant branch manager jobs were open in the Baltimore region when the manager was cleared to work. M&T discharged the manager, the EEOC said, because of her disability and record of disability.

As part of a three-year consent decree, M&T will pay the former manager $100,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. The bank also will create a noncompetitive procedure to reassign qualified employees who return after extended leave due to disability.

“In addition to the monetary relief to the employee, this settlement ensures that other qualified employees may get transfers to vacant positions as a reasonable accommodation," Debra M. Lawrence, an EEOC regional attorney, said in a statement.

M&T said the settlement allows it to avoid prolonged litigation and additional expense.

“We feel we went beyond the legal requirements to accommodate our employee in this case,” David Lanzillo, a bank administrative vice president, said in an email. "We remain fully committed to providing all of our employees, including those with a disability, with a workplace where they feel valued, supported and able to reach their full potential.”

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen L. Hollander granted summary judgment in September on the lawsuit’s claim that the bank failed to reasonably accommodate the manager’s disability and found that she was entitled to reassignment to a vacant position.


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