A Wichita, Kansas, restaurant has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it revoked an employee’s pregnancy accommodation and then fired her because of it, according to a Friday announcement.
A manager at A.V.I. Sea Bar & Chophouse initially provided a pregnant host with a stool she used between serving customers to help alleviate foot and back pain, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Later, however, a co-owner took the stool away, saying its use “did not look good” and demanded a doctor’s note, according to the complaint in EEOC v. A.V.I. Sea Bar & Chophouse LLC d/b/a A.V.I. Sea Bar and Chophouse and Corporate Caterers of Wichita. After providing a note, she was allegedly “immediately” fired.
The restaurant’s actions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC alleged. The company agreed not only to pay the $55,000 but also to train employees on nondiscrimination requirements. It also agreed to report to the agency any pregnancy accommodation requests it receives and any adverse actions it takes against a pregnant employee. The restaurant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Congress recently rendered moot disagreement over whether federal law requires accommodations for pregnant employees. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, passed at the end of last year, adopts an accommodation mandate similar to that of the Americans with Disabilities Act, sources previously told HR Dive.
The law takes effect June 27 and, according to EEOC’s David Davis, acting director of the agency’s St. Louis district office, will increase “the importance of training employees, managers, and business owners regarding their legal obligations to ensure fair and lawful treatment of pregnant workers.” The PWFA requires EEOC to publish implementing regulations within a year.