EEOC sues Bismarck restaurant over pregnant worker’s firing
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A popular upscale restaurant in North Dakota’s capital city is being sued for allegedly firing a server after she became pregnant.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the federal lawsuit against East 40 Inc. on Monday. The company does business in Bismarck as 40 Steak & Seafood.
Server Erica Davidson was hired at the restaurant in February 2015 and learned she was pregnant two months later. She told her managers and co-workers that June and was fired the next month, EEOC attorneys allege in court documents. A manager allegedly told other workers that Davidson’s pregnancy was the reason.
“Pregnancy discrimination is a continuing problem in the United States,” Greg Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s district office in Chicago, said in a statement. “The rule is simple: don’t fire someone, or treat someone adversely in any way, simply because she is pregnant. It is against the law and it is just wrong.”
Restaurant owner Dale Zimmerman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday from The Associated Press. A restaurant lawyer listed in court documents said he was not representing the business in the dispute.
The restaurant also is accused of record-keeping violations, including discarding or destroying records related to Davidson’s job performance. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in North Dakota, maintains she had an exemplary work record.
The EEOC seeks an unspecified amount of money to compensate Davidson for lost past and future earnings and for emotional suffering, along with punitive damages. It also asks a judge to order the restaurant to institute policies to guard against any future discrimination.
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