Over the last several years, Chipotle has been sued by pregnant workers who claim they were treated unfairly after becoming pregnant. In the most recent lawsuit, a jury awarded a woman $550,000 in damages after concluding the restaurant chain had committed pregnancy discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, the woman’s manager treated her differently from other employees due to her pregnancy status. This included making her announce to every employee in the store when she was going to take a bathroom break. In addition, her manager requested that she ask for permission to use the bathroom, which other employees did not have to do. The woman was also denied leave to go to a doctor’s appointment. She went out of necessity and was fired.
Chipotle’s recent lawsuits show what pregnancy discrimination can look like. It occurs when pregnant employees or job applicants are treated differently. It can include refusing to hire someone because they are pregnant, denying time for medical leave or making negative employment decisions based on pregnancy status. Some workers experience wrongful termination.
Can Workers Fight Back Against Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is extremely common across the country. Many employers guilty of this refuse to provide pregnant workers with accommodations based on their medical needs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 5,342 pregnancy discrimination complaints in 2013. That same year, the EEOC also recovered $17 million for pregnant workers who had been discriminated against.
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. Pregnant workers have protections under the Family Medical Leave Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the California Family Rights Act and the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law. The EEOC will also investigate claims of pregnancy discrimination. Evidence uncovered during an EEOC investigation can become extremely useful if affected workers decide to file discrimination lawsuits.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. will help workers who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs.