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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Is Pregnancy Discrimination a Problem at Chipotle?

By Dan Atkerson on August 29, 2016

Pregnant workerBack in 2011, a woman in Washington D.C. brought a pregnancy discrimination case against Chipotle, claiming that her former manager had fired her for being pregnant. Now, five years later, she is finally getting justice from the law.

Information from the case shows that the woman will receive $550,000 in damages for being fired for her pregnancy. She also reported unfair treatment during work. Her former manager made her inform every single employee in the restaurant before each of her bathroom breaks. Later, the woman was denied permission to leave work for an important doctor’s visit. She decided to attend the appointment anyway, and was promptly fired.

The Law Protects Against Pregnancy Discrimination

U.S. law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on faith, race, gender, familial status and other protected classes. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and other laws forbid employers from doing all of the following:
  • Firing a woman for being pregnant: A woman has the right to be open with her pregnancy without fear of losing her job.
  • Firing a woman who plans to become pregnant: Even if a woman has not yet become pregnant, an employer cannot fire her if she/he suspect her of becoming pregnant.
  • Treating a woman unequally because of a pregnancy: Employers should never treat an employee unfairly because of a pregnancy. For example, in this case, the woman was forced to embarrass herself by announcing her bathroom breaks, when no other employee had to do the same.
  • Refusing a pregnant woman medical leave: Women are entitled to the same amount of leave that an employee with a disability would receive.
  • Retaliation from an employer: If an employee takes his/her right to medical leave, an employer may not retaliate by firing or mistreating that employee.
Pregnancy is both a difficult and exciting time for many people. This is supposed to be a benchmark moment in a person’s life, where she has room to contemplate and prepare herself to bring a new person into the world. A pregnant woman should never have to deal with the added stress of an employer trying to infringe on her right to a fair and secure work environment.

Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment attorney who fights for victims of workplace discrimination and other forms of employment injustice.

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