U.S. Justice Dept. files suit against nation's largest mortgage insurance firm Milwaukee-based Mortgage Guaranty Insurance and two of its underwriters, alleging discrimination against women on paid maternity leave

WASHINGTON , July 6, 2011 () – The Justice Department said Tuesday that it is suing the nation's largest mortgage insurance company and two of its underwriters alleging discrimination against women on paid maternity leave.

Officials said the suit filed Tuesday in federal court in Pittsburgh alleges that Milwaukee-based Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation required women on paid maternity leave to return to work before the company would insure their mortgages. The department said that could keep the women from getting home loans since most lenders require insurance from applicants seeking to borrow more than 80 percent of their home's value.

Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said in a statement that the actions constitute discrimination barred by fair housing laws.

A company spokeswoman did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment Tuesday evening.

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