Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) December 4, 2017 – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against a Los Angeles restaurant and nightclub.
LA Louisanne, Inc., cut a pregnant server’s hours after learning she was pregnant and denied her right to return to her job after giving birth, according to the lawsuit.
Betsy Havens, a workplace discrimination attorney in Los Angeles, said she hopes the lawsuit will serve to send the message to small businesses that the law protects pregnant workers regardless of whether the business might be inconvenienced by pregnancies.
“Larger businesses tend to understand such basic protections very well,” Havens said. “Small businesses, and those with fairly rapid turnover, like restaurants, often think the law doesn’t apply to them, or that they can fly under the radar. I applaud the EEOC for bringing this suit and holding employers accountable.”
The EEOC filed the lawsuit after attempts to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed. In a statement announcing the suit, the agency said it believes other employees of the restaurant have also been discriminated against due to pregnancy.
The lawsuit seeks back pay for the employee and injunctive relief to prevent similar discrimination at the restaurant. It also seeks punitive damages, which are intended to serve as a deterrent against such behavior by the defendant and others.
Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy by employers with 15 or more employees has been illegal for nearly 40 years. It was outlawed by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“I encourage anyone who feels they were fired or their job is at risk due to pregnancy to speak with an experienced employment attorney,” Havens added.
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