Being unfairly targeted by an employer for a physical condition is unquestionably illegal, but a recent incident involving a pregnant bartender is raising questions about the murkiness of some workplace legalities.
The complaint in question involves the Corner Bar in Austin, and their former worker who tended bar while visibly pregnant. She claimed the company cut her hours and removed her from the profitable closing shift, according to an HR Dive report, with them eventually letting her go altogether. She was also allegedly told that the pub was “genuinely scared something bad” would happen to her if there was a bar fight and she was becoming “too much of a liability,” according to the outlet.
The reported incident has resulted in a lawsuit filed by the EEOC, alleging the company infringed on the Title VII Civil Rights of the former employee which aims to protect pregnant workers from being fired because of their condition.
“This lawsuit should serve to remind employers that federal law clearly prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions,” said Philip Moss, a trial attorney with the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office in a press release. “The EEOC remains committed to fighting discrimination based on sex in the workplace, including pregnancy discrimination, in all of its forms.”
Robert Canino, regional attorney for the Dallas District Office, also said, “Employers violate discrimination laws when they deny women opportunities based on stereotypes and unfounded assumptions about what they are able to do during and after pregnancies. As a matter of fact, the importance of these workplace pregnancy discrimination issues is further re-enforced by the federal Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (PWFA), which becomes effective next month.”