Brenna Houck of Eater, citing the Washington Business Journal, reports a U.S. District Court jury in Washington, D.C., awarded Doris Garcia Hernandez $550,000 in compensatory and punitive damages this week after finding her former manager had discriminated against for being pregnant.
Based on the filing, back in 2011, Hernandez informed her manager — referred to only as “David” — that she was pregnant. Following the disclosure, she claims he began restricting her water and bathroom breaks. Hernandez alleges that her boss required her to “announce” to other staff members when she needed to use the restroom and he would then “approve her bathroom breaks so that he could cover her work position for her.” The manager also refused her requests to leave work and attend her prenatal doctor’s appointment. Hernandez chose to leave anyway and was publicly fired in front of other employees and customers the following day.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.” Likewise, “if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee.”
Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is common in the restaurant industry and Chipotle has been sued before for similar cases. In February, a federal grand jury in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled in favor of three former managers who sued the company for gender discrimination citing sexist behavior and unfair firing due to pregnancy.