Italian Restaurant Unlawfully Fired Server Because of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Federal Agency Charged
SAN DIEGO - Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in Encinitas, Calif., has agreed to pay $18,800 and provide injunctive relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, after a female employee notified Maurizio Trattoria Italiana of her pregnancy, the restaurant reduced her hours, resulting in substantially less pay. The EEOC further contends that the restaurant refused to return the employee to her server position after she gave birth, instead firing her.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC, Case No. 18-cv-338-MMA (BLM)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing future pregnancy discrimination. Maurizio Trattoria Italiana has agreed to review and to revise its policies and procedures regarding compliance with Title VII and the PDA. Additionally, the company has agreed to provide training in employment discrimination laws, including laws against pregnancy discrimination, and employees' rights to employment upon return of a leave taken due to pregnancy, childbirth and/or related medical conditions. The court will maintain jurisdiction of the case for duration of the four-and-a-half-year decree.
"We commend Maurizio Trattoria Italiana for agreeing to comprehensive injunctive remedies that are intended to prevent future pregnancy discrimination," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes San Diego in its jurisdiction. "The EEOC continues to see pregnancy discrimination as an ongoing problem. We encourage other employers to follow suit and review their policies and practices relating to pregnancy discrimination to ensure they are in compliance with federal law."
Christopher Green, director of the EEOC's San Diego Local Office, said, "Women should not be penalized for having children. The EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of pregnant employees."
One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the EEOC to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the PDA.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.