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Jury Rules Chipotle Discriminated Against Pregnant Employee

The company will pay $550,000 in compensation and damages

Chipotle To Close Restaurants For Few Hours For Food Safety Meeting Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A former Chipotle worker is looking forward to a big payout from her past employer. According to the Washington Business Journal, a U.S. District Court jury in Washington, D.C., awarded Doris Garcia Hernandez $550,000 in compensatory and punitive damages this week after finding her former manager had discriminated against for being pregnant.

Based on the filing, back in 2011, Hernandez informed her manager — referred to only as "David" — that she was pregnant. Following the disclosure, she claims he began restricting her water and bathroom breaks. Hernandez alleges that her boss required her to "announce" to other staff members when she needed to use the restroom and and he would then "approve her bathroom breaks so that he could cover her work position for her." The manager also refused her requests to leave work and attend her prenatal doctor’s appointment. Hernandez chose to leave anyway and was publicly fired in front of other employees and customers the following day.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment." Likewise, "if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee."

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination is common in the restaurant industry and Chipotle has been sued before for similar cases. In February, a federal grand jury in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled in favor of three former managers who sued the company for gender discrimination citing sexist behavior and unfair firing due to pregnancy.

• ​Chipotle Will Have to Pay Up After Firing Pregnant D.C. Employee [BizJournal]

Jury Awards $550K To Pregnant Worker Fired By Chipotle [Law 360]

Chipotle Ordered to Pay $600,000 in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit [E]

All Chipotle Coverage [E]

All Lawsuits Coverage [E]