In California, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Feb. 13 against Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana LLC, a San Diego restaurant, for allegations of firing a female employee because of her pregnancy. The EEOC Charges in their lawsuit that Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana, LLC, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Encinitas near San Diego, violated federal law when it discriminated and fired a female employee after learning of her pregnancy. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an employee who worked at Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana notified the owner of her pregnancy. The EEOC contends that the restaurant subsequently discriminated against her by scheduling her to work fewer hours, resulting in much less pay, refusing to return her to her server position after she gave birth, and finally firing her. The EEOC also alleges Maurizio’s failed to return the employee to the work schedule after she gave birth and eventually fired her. Alleged conduct of this nature violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“Women should not have to choose between their job or having children, said Christopher Green, director of the EEOC‘s San Diego local office, in a statement. “Employers need to be aware the EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously and will continue to protect the rights of pregnant employees.”
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana, LLC, Case No. 3:18-cv-00338-MMA-BLM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the female employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination in the business.
“Pregnancy discrimination remains an ongoing problem in our nation’s workplaces,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “Employers are encouraged to evaluate their obligations under Title VII relating to employees who are pregnant.”
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