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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
11-16-09

Utah Japanese Restaurant To Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit

Tepanyaki Fired Server Because of Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX – A Clearfield, Utah Japanese restaurant will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit (Case No. 1:09-cv-43 TS in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah) charged that Tepanyaki of Clearfield LLC discriminated against Alison Woodbury by firing her because of her pregnancy. Woodbury was hired as a server for Tepanyaki, the EEOC said, but during her initial training Tepanyaki discovered that she was pregnant and terminated her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or sexual harassment) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation.

"Under federal law, employers must permit pregnant employees to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs," said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. "All workers, including pregnant employees, deserve fairness in the workplace. Women should not lose employment oppor­tunities because of pregnancy."

Acting EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford O. Irvin added, "Myths and stereotypes that categorize all pregnant women as unable to work are disempowering to both employers and pregnant employees. We are pleased that this settlement will steer Tepanyaki toward better treatment of pregnant employees."

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit, signed by Federal District Court Judge Ted Stewart, requires Tepanyaki to provide training and other relief aimed at educating its employees about sex discrimination, includ­ing pregnancy discrimination, and their rights under Title VII.

The EEOC has issued guidance on caregiver discrimination, which includes pregnancy discrimination. See http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiving.html.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque). Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.