California has some of the strongest labor laws in place in the nation. Both at the federal and state level, workers in our state enjoy protections that workers in most other states can only dream of having.
But that doesn't mean that some companies don't attempt to skirt state and federal statutes and drop the hammer on employees.
Restaurant must pay up
Such was the case for one Los Angeles establishment, LA Louisanne Inc. The jazz club/restaurant reduced a pregnant server's hours after management discovered that she was pregnant. At a certain point, they no longer listed her on the schedule at all. Once she delivered her baby, they also denied her request to return to work.
The worker decided to fight back — and she won. In July, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the company agreed to settle the woman's lawsuit for $82,500, plus other relief.
She was not the only case
The agency alleged in their lawsuit that the plaintiff was not the only server at LA Louisanne who was subjected to similar discriminatory practices while pregnant.
The company's practices were violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC at first attempted to resolve the matter for their client without litigation via a conciliation process. However, the two sides failed to reach accord in the matter, and the suit was filed in the Central District of California in the U.S. District Court.
Discrimination doesn't pay
The settlement includes the five-figure settlement for the plaintiff and also establishes a fund for others in the class action. Under the consent decree filed with the court, the club and restaurant will also be subject to external monitoring by the EEOC for three years to ensure future compliance.
In addition, LA Louisanne must revise the company's policies and procedures to eliminate harassment and discrimination on the job and also provide harassment and discrimination training to all employees.
Stand up for your workplace rights
Justice doesn't often come without a fight, and that's something that many workers are loathe to do. But discrimination has no place in the workforce. Being proactive about one's rights is important and can wind up in lucrative settlements and judgments for those who have experienced workplace discrimination.