Grocery Workers Reach $2.8M Settlement in Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
January 21. 2020
For Immediate Release
Jan 21, 2020
Jess Eagle, Strategic Communications Manager
Equal Rights Advocates
San Francisco – On January 17, 2020, the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, granted preliminary approval of a $2.8 million settlement in a pregnancy discrimination case brought on behalf of current and former Raley’s supermarket workers in California. Equal Rights Advocates, with The Liu Law Firm, P.C. and Outten & Golden LLP, represented the plaintiffs.
The case was brought in Sacramento County Superior Court in April 2015 on behalf of two named plaintiffs and a proposed class of current and former employees of Raley’s supermarkets who alleged they were denied reasonable accommodations for their pregnancies. The lead plaintiff, Lucianna Borrego, worked for Raley’s in Ukiah, California. Kirsten Kelly, the second named plaintiff, worked at a Bel Air market in the Sacramento region. Both plaintiffs claimed they were placed on leave when they sought accommodations relating to their pregnancies.
Raley’s denies any liability or wrongdoing and believes it would have prevailed in this case. However, the company says it entered into the settlement agreement to minimize the expense and distraction associated with litigation.
“We thank Lucianna Borrego, Kirsten Kelly, and our other plaintiffs for their courage and determination in bringing this case forward,” said Jennifer Liu, one of the lead lawyers representing the plaintiffs. “We also applaud Raley’s for its commitment to making sure pregnant workers are able to keep working when they can do so with accommodation.”
“We highly value each and every one of our team members and approach each individual medical accommodation request with great thought and care. We make every effort to go above what is legally required to meet the needs of our team members,” said Chelsea Minor, Raley’s Corporate Director for Consumer & Public Affairs. “We take great pride in being a local, family-owned company that cares greatly for our team members, customers and communities where we do business.”
Under the terms of the agreement, more than 300 women who worked at a Raley’s, Nob Hill Foods, Bel Air, or Food Source supermarket in California, and who began or were on a pregnancy leave of absence between November 1, 2012 and July 8, 2015, will be eligible to receive individual settlement payments from the class settlement fund. These payments will come from the $2.8 million settlement amount, which will also cover plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, service awards, and the costs of litigation and settlement administration.
Current and former Raley’s employees who have been identified as members of the class will soon receive notice of the settlement and will have the opportunity to submit claim forms in order to receive money from the settlement fund. The court has scheduled a final approval hearing for July 17, 2020.
“This agreement and Raley’s ongoing policies and practices will go a long way toward ensuring that pregnant workers and new mothers not only are afforded the full protection of the law, but can thrive in the workplace,” said Equal Rights Advocates Legal Director Jennifer Reisch. “When pregnant workers can continue working and supporting their families, it is a win-win for workers and employers alike.”
“Today is a good day,” said Lucianna Borrego, the grocery worker who filed the initial complaint. “The greatest gift has been finding balance and peace in this resolution.”
Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.
The Liu Law Firm, P.C. is an employment and civil rights law firm based in Menlo Park, California. The firm litigates on behalf of employees and civil rights plaintiffs across the country and has extensive experience bringing high impact class actions to protect the rights of employees who have suffered discrimination or have been deprived of their wages.
Outten & Golden LLP is a 70+-attorney firm representing workers in individual and class actions challenging discrimination, wage theft, and other employment rights violations. The firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.