Restaurant Admits Firing and Refusing to Rehire a Worker Because She Was Pregnant

Published 12:38 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana restaurant admitted that it violated federal law when it fired and then later refused to rehire a worker because she was pregnant as part of federal court resolution with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC announced today.

Bourne’s House, LLC, doing business as Bourne’s House Restaurant in Franklinton, Louisiana, and the EEOC resolved the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit through a consent decree, which was approved on May 26, 2022 by a U.S. district court judge.

According to facts admitted by Bourne’s House and set forth by the court in the decree, in April 2019, a manager at the company’s Franklinton, Louisiana, restaurant fired the newly hired worker after sending her a social media message saying, “I’m not gonna be able to hire you. I didn’t realize that you were expecting a baby.” When the worker reapplied for work several months later, Bourne’s House wrote “pregnant” on her application and did not rehire her. Bourne’s House also operates Ramie’s Seafood in Bogalusa, Louisiana.

This conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits pregnancy-related discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Civil Action No. 21-01665) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. Under the five-year consent decree, Bourne’s House, LLC will not only pay the former employee $30,000 in damages, but also conduct training, revise policies, provide regular reports to the EEOC, and post a notice that affirms its obligations under Title VII.

“This is a significant outcome — the employer admitted that it violated the law to resolve the suit,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “The decree provides relief for the former employee and will help ensure that no employees will be subject to discrimination because they are pregnant. The court’s decree sends a clear message that pregnant workers are entitled to the same opportunities as all other workers.”

“Employers, whether a local restaurant or large corporation, cannot take away a person’s opportunity to earn a living because she is pregnant,” said Peter Theis, trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office. “A pregnant employee has an obvious need to earn a living not only for herself, but also for her expected baby.”

The EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office is part of its Houston District Office, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana and parts of Texas.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

 

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