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Dick’s Sued for Funding Employees Seeking Abortions, but Not for Giving Birth

Published: July 14, 2022
Customers walk in front of a Dick's Sporting Goods store on August 26, 2020 in Daly City, California. Dick's Sporting Goods is being sued for providing funding for employees seeking abortions but not for giving birth.(Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On July 13, America First Legal (AFL), a national non-profit organization working to protect the rule of law, due process, and equal protection for all Americans, published a letter indicating it will be taking Dick’s Sporting Goods to court alledging the company is discriminating against employees chosing to give birth. 

In Late June, following the historic Supreme Court opinion that overturned the legal precedent set by Roe v Wade, Lauren Hobart, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced via LinkedIn that the company would reimburse employees up to $4,000.00 for abortion-related travel in light of the Court’s opinion. The proposition also included spouses and dependents of employees.

“We are announcing that if a state one of our teammates lives in restricts access to abortion, DICK’s Sporting Goods will provide $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available,” Hobart wrote in June.  

However, similar financial incentives are not offered to employees of the company who choose to give birth which according to AFL violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. 

“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. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1); 2000e(k),” the AFL argued in its letter.  

The letter further alleges that Dick’s Sporting Goods engages in contracting practices infused with “unalwful considerations of race, color, sex, and/or national origin by failing or refusing to hire certain individuals.”

AFL Senior Counselor and Director of Oversight, Reed D. Rubinstein, told the Daily Caller, “This is a big company and the practices that they are engaging in, while they might make as virtual signals and they might have utility for the company, they certainly don’t create shareholder value,” adding that, “They also kind of demonstrate the perverse effects and frankly the destructive effects of this most extreme corporate wokeness because abortion and racial borders have absolutely nothing to do with selling sporting goods.”

“It’s just so pernicious, and so divisive, and so dangerous, and so utterly disconnected from the business, in this case, selling sporting goods. It needs to be called out and it needs to be stopped,” Rubinstein said. 

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Numerous companies follow suit

Dick’s Sporting Goods is one of many companies offering to reimburse travel and other expenses for employees seeking abortion and should AFL be successful it could land some of America’s largest corporate giants in hot water. 

Tech giant Amazon is offering up to $4,000.00 per employee annually for treatments including abortion. 

Wells Fargo has said that its current coverage will remain in place regardless of the location in which services are performed alongside both Starbucks and Tesla. 

Apple, Ralph Lauren, Comcast, Indeed, Zillow, Yelp and Mastercard have all issued statements on employee-related reproductive care expenses, according to Axios

Disney told its employees following the Supreme Court opinion that it recognizes “the impact of the ruling” and said the company will provide access to quality and affordable care for employees and their families, which includes abortion. 

According to Axios a spokesperson for the company said, “Disney employees who don’t have access to care in one area have affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location.”

In a statement published to LinkedIn, Patagonia, an outdoor clothing designer and sports gear supplier, wrote, “Caring for employees extends beyond basic health insurance, so we take a more holistic approach to coverage and support overall wellness to which every human has a right. That means offering employees the dignity of access to reproductive care.”