A restaurant has agreed to pay $20,000 to a former employee, along with other relief, to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). EEOC v. Reed Pierce's, No. 3:10-cv-00541, consent decree (S.D. Miss., Feb. 5, 2013). The lawsuit alleged that the restaurant unlawfully terminated the employee because she was pregnant. The restaurant continues to deny the EEOC's allegations, but agreed via a consent decree to pay damages, allow injunctive relief, modify its employment policies, and mandate training for its employees.
The complainant worked for Reed Pierce's, a restaurant in Byram, Mississippi, as a waitress. According to the amended complaint filed by the EEOC, the complainant notified supervisors that she was pregnant in November 2008. She reportedly had an allergic reaction to prenatal vitamins in February 2009, and asked to leave work as a result. The employer had allegedly granted similar requests by non-pregnant employees to leave work because of illness, but it denied her request. She made a similar request to take off from work for a doctor's appointment in March 2009, but was denied. The employer had allegedly granted requests to leave work for medical appointments for other employees. The complainant received notice of her termination from the employer on March 7, 2009, allegedly because "her pregnancy was interfering with her ability to do her job." Reed Pierce's, am. complaint at 3-4 (Oct. 18, 2010). She maintains that she was still able to perform her job duties, but received disparate treatment from her employer because of her pregnancy.