EEOC Charges Donut Shop With Pregnancy Discrimination; Says It Forced Unpaid Leave

I can’t close the book on 2014 without reporting at least one more instance of alleged pregnancy discrimination. In late December, the EEOC announced it was suing a Houston area donut franchise for violating the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it forced an employee whom it suspected of being pregnant, to take unpaid leave until she was cleared by a doctor indicating that she could work despite her pregnancy.

The EEOC’s suit alleged that the owner of Shipley’s Do-Nuts confronted Brooke Foley based on informal reports by other employees that she was pregnant. In an impromptu meeting attended by two other employees, the owner asked Foley intrusive personal questions about whether she was pregnant, which Foley refused to answer. At that point, the owner took Foley off the schedule and told she could not return (and therefore not get paid), until she provided a doctor’s note allowing her to work and assuring Shipley’s she did not have a “high risk” pregnancy.

The lawsuit further alleged that the same day as the confrontation with the owner, Foley’s mother, acting on her daughter’s behalf, confronted the owner about the legality of the release requirement. The following day, Foley was fired by a supervisor over the phone alleging she failed to report to work, despite her having been removed from the schedule.

So not only did the employer force the employee to take an unpaid leave; it also demanded she sign a medical release, then fired her when she opposed the demand, according to the EEOC.

A sure-fire recipe forĀ  a lawsuit.

Here’s more on the case.


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