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Encinitas restaraunt named in lawsuit for firing pregnant employee

SAN DIEGO — A new lawsuit alleges that an Italian restaurant in Encinitas violated federal discrimination laws by firing a female employee after learning of her pregnancy.

The suit, filed on Tuesday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleges that after an employee who worked at Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana notified the owner of her pregnancy, the restaurant discriminated against her by scheduling her fewer hours, refusing to return her to her server position after she gave birth and ultimately firing her.

An attorney for Maurizio’s could not immediately be reached for comment.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Diego after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation agreement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the unnamed employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination at the business.

“Pregnancy discrimination remains an ongoing problem in our nation’s workplaces,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “Employers are encouraged to evaluate their obligations under Title VII relating to employees who are pregnant.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego local office, said employers need to be aware that the EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously.

“Women should not have to choose between their job or having children,” Green said.