Restaurant to pay $18K to settle pregnancy discrimination lawsuit

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SAN DIEGO — An Italian restaurant in Encinitas agreed to pay $18,800 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who alleged her hours were substantially cut, and she was ultimately fired, after she told her employer she was expecting, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Tuesday.

After informing the owner in 2015 that she was expecting, the server was told that she “should stay home since she was pregnant, that her pregnancy had caused coverage problems, and that (the owner) would offer a position with less pay for more work so that she would not come back from her pregnancy leave,” according to the complaint filed against Maurizio Trattoria Italiana LLC.

She was fired in the summer of 2015, while less experienced servers were hired, according to the complaint.

“Women should not be penalized for having children,” said Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego office. “The EEOC takes pregnancy discrimination seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of pregnant employees.”

According to the EEOC, that conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

In addition to the financial settlement, the restaurant operator agreed to review and revise its policies to bring it into compliance with Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, according to the EEOC.

“We commend Maurizio Trattoria Italiana for agreeing to comprehensive injunctive remedies that are intended to prevent future pregnancy discrimination,” EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park said. “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.”

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