Encinitas restaurant sued for alleged discrimination against pregnant employee

An Italian restaurant in Encinitas violated federal law when it discriminated and fired a female employee after learning of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed recently.

The EEOC suit alleges that after an employee who worked at Maurizio's Trattoria Italiana notified the owner of her pregnancy, the restaurant subsequently discriminated against her by scheduling her fewer hours, resulting in much less pay, refusing to return her to her server position after she gave birth and finally 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.

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