A conservative legal group has challenged Dick’s Sporting Goods over its decision to pay for abortion travel, arguing that the policy discriminates against female employees who choose to give birth.
America First Legal has asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to open an investigation into Dick’s for “multiple violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.”
The sporting-goods giant announced last month that it will provide up to $4,000 to reimburse employees who travel out of state to obtain abortions, as well as their spouses and dependents. The benefit would also cover the travel expenses of “one support person.”
America First Legal said even though “Title VII prohibits discrimination based on childbirth, Dick’s does not offer an equivalent paid benefit to a mother who has her baby.”
“Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby, is perverse and unlawful,” said Reed D. Rubinstein, America First Legal senior counselor and director of oversight, in a statement.
The complaint, which was filed on Wednesday, also accused Dick’s of violating Title VII by discriminating based on race, citing the company’s 2020 “inclusion and diversity” goals on “BIPOC” [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] and female representation in leadership.
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“Using racial balancing and quotas in hiring and promotion, as the company claims that it does, has been illegal for decades,” Mr. Rubinstein said. “DICK’S management is an avatar for the rot and danger of corporate wokeness.”
BREAKING: America First Legal filed a federal civil rights complaint against @DICKS Sporting Goods for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. DICK’S is offering benefits to employees who abort their children but is not offering equivalent benefits to moms who give birth.1/2
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) July 13, 2022
Dick’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dick’s president and CEO Lauren Hobart posted a statement on June 24, the same day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, announcing that the company would reimburse employees who seek abortions in states with more lenient laws.
“We recognize people feel passionately about this topic – and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision,” she said. “However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.”
Nearly 40 companies, including Amazon.com, Walt Disney and Target, have announced similar policies reimbursing employees for abortion travel, according to a list maintained by CBS News.