United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued the following announcement on July 2.
LA Louisanne, Inc., a Los Angeles restaurant and jazz night club, will pay $82,500 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, LA Louisanne violated federal law when it reduced the working hours of one if its servers after learning she was pregnant, eventually removing her from the schedule entirely. The company then refused to allow her to return her to work after giving birth. The EEOC also charged that other servers for LA Louisanne experienced similar discrimination during their pregnancies.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. LA Louisanne, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-06690) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $82,500 in monetary relief for the victim and the establishment of a class fund, LA Louisanne will retain an external EEO monitor who will review and revise the company's discrimination and harassment policies as necessary. The company will also provide training for all employees regarding discrimination and harassment. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the three-year consent decree.
"Stereotypes regarding pregnant employees still persist, particularly in the food industry," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District. "We commend LA Louisanne for taking the necessary steps to create a more inclusive work environment for expectant employees."
Christopher Green, director of the EEOC's San Diego local office, which investigated the charge, added, "Pregnant employees should not lose their jobs or otherwise suffer discrimination simply because of their temporary condition. Employers should train employees on proper policies and practices to prevent bias against pregnant workers, who often remain productive during and after pregnancy."
One of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations, among other issues.
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