The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that after interviewing Stephanie Mason, the restaurant’s hiring manager offered her the job. He gave her an employee handbook to read and sign, a menu to copy and study, and instructed her to obtain a food handler’s card, uniform pants and shoes, and make copies of her driver’s license and social security card.
When Mason returned a day later, after purchasing uniform pants and shoes and applying for her food handler’s card, she filled out her I-9 and tax documents. At that time, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit, she asked what the pregnancy leave policy was, the hiring manager asked if she was pregnant, she answered “yes,” and the manager excused himself.
According to the complaint, he returned a few minutes later and told Mason that the position was filled; however, two non-pregnant employees were hired within a few days.
Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office said in a news release that “women should never be forced to choose between motherhood and their livelihood, especially in these difficult economic times.”
The agency seeks monetary damages, including compensatory and punitive damages for Mason, as well as injunctive relief and that El Palacio institute and implement policies to eradicate and prevent future episodes of pregnancy discrimination.The case is EEOC v. El Palacio Mexican Restaurants, Inc., 3:10-cv-08187-PHX-PGR.