- A Los Angeles restaurant and jazz night club will pay $82,500 to settle a pregnancy bias case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to a press release from the agency. EEOC initially filed a lawsuit against LA Louisanne, Inc. for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
- The establishment allegedly reduced one of its server's hours after finding out she was pregnant, and eventually removed her entirely from the work schedule. The restaurant also allegedly barred her from returning to work after giving birth, according to the commission. EEOC said it filed the suit after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement with LA Louisanne through its conciliation process.
- In addition to the settlement payment and the establishment of a class fund, LA Louisanne will: retain an external EEO monitor, charged with reviewing and revising the restaurant's discrimination and harassment policies as necessary; provide discrimination and harassment training to all employees; and agree to EEOC monitoring of its compliance under a three-year consent decree.
Providing managers and employees with discrimination and harassment training is a critical step in reducing the risk of liability. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees because of pregnancy, as do many state and local laws that also have requirements that go above and beyond federal law.
Enforcing zero-tolerance anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies is central to curbing misconduct, as is training; without knowing and understanding the consequences of breaching policy, workers may show lapses in judgment and behavior.
Anna Park, EEOC's regional attorney for the Los Angeles District, said in the statement that, "Stereotypes regarding pregnant employees still persist, particularly in the food industry. We commend LA Louisanne for taking the necessary steps to create a more inclusive work environment for expectant employees."