Jury favors fired Chipotle Employee in Pregnancy Discrimination Suit

Miami – One of the most popular places for Mexican food, Chipotle, has been charged with pregnancy discrimination. A former employee, Doris Garcia Hernandez, sued Chipotle for terminating her employment after she informed the supervisor, David Hahn, that she was pregnant. As a result of the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, the jury ruled in favor of Hernandez. Chipotle must pay the former employee a total of $550k for compensatory damages and punitive damages.

The pregnancy discrimination lawsuit indicates Hernandez worked at Chipotle in Dupont Circle located on M Street NW. Hernandez said after she informed her supervisor about her pregnancy, he began treating her differently than the other employees. Restrictions that were non-existent suddenly began to be enforced. Hernandez claims Hahn limited the amount of water she could drink and breaks she would normally receive.

In addition to experiencing new restrictions at work that none of the other employees were exposed to, Hernandez experienced harassment during bathroom breaks. Everyone knows pregnant women experience more bathroom breaks than an average or non-pregnant employee. According to the lawsuit, Hahn required Hernandez to inform the other employees when she would be using the restroom. He also ordered her to wait for his approval before she leaves her work area for the bathroom.

According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court designated for the District of Columbia, Hernandez highlighted that the restroom requirement only applied to her. Non-pregnant employees were not required to abide by the rule. In January 2012, Hernandez had to attend a prenatal appointment with her doctor. The complaint says she informed her supervisor days in advance about her appointment, so she would be cleared to leave work early.

Hernandez said Hahn disregarded her request to leave work early, and on the day of her appointment, he informed her that she could not leave work. Hernandez said she proceeded to go to her prenatal appointment. The following day, Hernandez was fired from Chipotle in the presence of her fellow co-workers.

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Hernandez said she received “positive performance reviews” for rolling burritos and making tortillas amongst other job duties. Hernandez is a mother of three children and was a hard worker at Chipotle. Although most defendants tend to argue that their decision for termination wasn’t based on discrimination, it’s hard to say that in regards to the former employee’s pregnancy discrimination case.
Court documents stated that Hahn resigned from Chipotle after he terminated Hernandez. In court, Hahn gave his testimony. He denied Hernandez’s allegations about the new bathroom policy including restrictions that only applied to her. He also said that his decision to terminate Hernandez was for reasons that did not apply to her pregnancy.

After a few hours of deliberation, the jury ruled in the former female employee’s favor. It was evident from the events that led up to the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit that the supervisor violated the federal statute, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, that’s enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Chipotle has decided not to appeal the case.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant employees from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and other medical conditions that apply. The PDA is a part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employers from sex discrimination, and pregnancy falls underneath that protected class.

The outcome of the pregnancy discrimination case was a huge success for Hernandez and women all around the world that battle pregnancy discrimination at work. It also showed other companies what could happen when a boss or employer breaches the federal law. As a result of the Chipotle episode, the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was passed in D.C. The Act requires employers to allow reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees including “access to drinking water” and “frequent bathroom breaks.”

Seek a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney

Pregnant women should not be treated differently or experience workplace discrimination at work. If your employer exposed you to disparate treatment or harassment while you’re pregnant in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact the pregnancy discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.

Our pregnancy discrimination attorneys are aware of the challenges pregnant women face at work and knowledgeable about the federal and state laws that protect them. Seek one of our remarkably skilled pregnancy discrimination attorneys to recover for you.

If you feel you have been the victim of workplace discrimination in New York City, Miami, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.