New Case: Courtnee, a Pregnant Worker Illegally Fired from Olive Garden
Worker justice advocates, including Equal Rights Advocates, filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today against Darden Restaurants, Inc. on behalf of Courtnee Dean, alleging that she was illegally fired from her job at a Philadelphia-area Olive Garden restaurant because she was pregnant.
According to the charge, Dean was disciplined without cause and then terminated without any notice or explanation shortly after she told her supervisor she was expecting a child.
The case is part of the Access to Gender Justice Initiative, launched by ERA with Restaurant Opportunities Centers-United (ROC), to expose and combat gender discrimination in restaurants through an innovative combination of high impact legal advocacy, public education, and organizing.
Dean, a 30-year old woman who is expecting her second child in February, alleges that managers at the Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania Olive Garden put her on a “watch list” of employees suspected of losing customer coupons and then fired her shortly after learning that she was pregnant. At the time she was let go in October 2014, Dean had been working at Olive Garden for more than ten years, and had no prior history of being disciplined for cash- or coupon-handling. Meanwhile, two non-pregnant employees who were placed on the same “watch list” did not get fired.
“Pregnant women deserve to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace,” said ERA Legal Director Jennifer Reisch. “It is very troubling that after a long and satisfactory employment relationship, Olive Garden chose to fire Ms. Dean so soon after learning that she was pregnant. We hope that Darden is willing to do the right thing by following the law and taking steps to ensure that this type of discrimination doesn’t happen in the future.”
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