A conservative legal organization filed a federal civil-rights complaint against DICK’S Sporting Goods on Thursday for sponsoring staff abortions while failing to provide equivalent paid maternity care to employees.
America First Legal asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to open a civil-rights investigation into the company, alleging multiple violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on parental status.
After the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, DICK’S announced a special employment benefit of “up to $4,000” in travel reimbursement for an employee, spouse, or dependent enrolled in their medical plan, along with one support person, to obtain an abortion, AFL reported.
The legal group claimed that the retailer discriminated against mothers who decide not to terminate their pregnancy by not offering them an equivalent benefit. It called the project “wholly detached” from the company’s business of selling sporting goods and golf equipment, which in turn may “needlessly destroy shareholder value.”
The travel benefit “is properly classified both as compensation and/or as a privilege of employment to a pregnant woman who chooses to abort her child” and denies “any equivalent compensation or benefit to a pregnant woman who chooses life,” AFL argued in a letter to the EEOC.
DICK’s launched the initiative on the day Roe was overturned, with CEO and president Lauren Hobart writing in a statement: “We are making this decision so our teammates can access the same healthcare options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them.”
AFL also asked the EEOC to probe what it claims are DICK’s illegal employment practices, which allegedly include quotas to specifically recruit, hire, and/or promote workers because of race, color, national origin, or sex, also violating Title VII.
“Subsidizing travel for an abortion, while denying an equivalent benefit to a mother welcoming a new baby, is perverse and unlawful. Using racial balancing and quotas in hiring and promotion, as the company claims that it does, has been illegal for decades. DICK’S management is an avatar for the rot and danger of corporate wokeness,” AFL Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight Reed D. Rubinstein said in a statement.