Donut Hole: EEOC Extracts $45K Settlement Against Shop That Fired Pregnant Employee

A donut shop is out of some (green) dough because it allegedly forced a female employee to take unpaid leave after management found out she was pregnant.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today said that D&S Shipley Donuts, dba Shipley’s Donuts, a Katy, Texas-area franchise, will pay $45,000 to settle the agency’s pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against it.

The suit filed on behalf of Brooke S. Foley charged that Shipley’s would not allow Foley to continue working unless she provided a doctor’s release indicating that her pregnancy was not “high-risk.” The lawsuit further alleged that when Foley failed to provide such a release, and after she and her mother complained that Shipley’s could not require her to do so, she was fired.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, reminded the EEOC, an employer cannot force a pregnant employee, or one the employer suspects of being pregnant, to provide medical documentation proving that the employee can continue working, unless the employee requests some pregnancy-related accommodation. Further, if an employee complains about pregnancy discrimination, the employer must investigate that complaint and must not take any retaliatory employment action against her.

“The Supreme Court decided many years ago that a pregnant employee is solely responsible for making decisions that affect her ability to continue her job, and any duties associated with her job,” said Jim Sacher, EEOC’s regional attorney in Houston. “An employer that imposes its own personal beliefs and concerns about an employee’s pregnancy on her violates federal law and invites legal action.”

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the settlement.


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