Federal Agency Charges That Employer Discharged Two Employees Because They Were Pregnant
MOBILE, Ala. -- S.T.L.I, Inc., doing business as J's Seafood Restaurant of Panama City, a Florida corporation operating a seafood restaurant in Panama City, Fla., violated federal law by discharging two servers because of their pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, both servers were hired in June 2011 and terminated in October of that year after the restaurant became aware of their pregnancies. According to the EEOC, the restaurant told the employees that their pregnancies caused them to be a liability to the company.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), provides that it is unlawful for employers to discharge any individual because of her pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. S.T.L. I, Inc. d/b/a J's Seafood Restaurant of Panama City, Case No. 5:12-cv-00317) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida after an investigation was completed by the EEOC's Mobile Local Office and after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement into the positions the employees previously held, and injunctive relief.
"The EEOC is committed to holding employers accountable when they fire employees, or subject them to other unlawful treatment, because of their sex or pregnancy," said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "This lawsuit, we trust, will deter other employers from engaging in this same type of conduct."
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC's Birmingham District, added, "Too many employers continue to penalize their female work force because of pregnancy. This lawsuit sends the message that employers need to hear - stop discriminating against pregnant employees."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC's Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.