Pregnancy discrimination can be exercised in many different ways and can affect an employee in a variety of negative ways. A victim of this form of discrimination may suffer professional and financial damages, in addition to potential emotional anguish. A bar and restaurant establishment in Texas was recently accused of pregnancy discrimination after it relieved a server from her shifts after she began to show.
The woman who previously worked as a server for the bar and restaurant believes that she was placed on temporary leave without consent as a direct result of her pregnancy. Although maternity leave is an option she may have chosen near the end of her term, her employer placed her on leave far earlier than was necessary or desired. The victim claims that the owner of the restaurant made his decision based on the belief that the smoky atmosphere of the restaurant would have an adverse effect on her unborn child.
As the woman began to show, her employer ceased calling her for shifts. With her wishes concerning her employment disregarded, the pregnant woman felt she was forced into early maternity leave based merely on her boss' assertions that he was protecting the unborn child from second-hand smoke. Records show that the restaurant does allow patrons to smoke inside of the establishment.
The server contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and filed a formal complaint against her former employer for pregnancy discrimination. Reports state that when the parties were unable to reach a solution, the EEOC sought legal action against the restaurant on behalf of the former server. When a business treats a pregnant employee differently than other employees, its management may be in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. A Texas employee who feels that her rights have been violated as a result of her pregnancy may seek professional guidance for help proving discriminatory action in hopes of recovering damages for lost wages.
Source: businessmanagementdaily.com, "Restaurant fires pregnant waitress for baby's safety", Nov. 11, 2014