Doris Garcia Hernandez was fired from a Washington, D.C., Chipotle after leaving early to go to a doctor’s appointment. Her boss began monitoring her bathroom breaks after she revealed her pregnancy.
A former Chipotle employee has just been awarded $550,000 in compensatory and punitive damages because a U.S. District Court jury found her boss fired her due to her pregnancy, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Doris Garcia Hernandez was working in a Chipotle in Washington, D.C., when she told her boss, referred to as David in the lawsuit, that she was pregnant. “Upon learning of her pregnancy, David told Ms. Garcia that she had to announce to every employee in the store when she was going to the bathroom and that David would have to approve her bathroom breaks so that he could cover her work position for her. David did not impose these requirements on non-pregnant employees,” the suit alleged.
The last straw came when Garcia told David she had to leave early to go to a prenatal doctor’s appointment. He ignored her, and she went anyway. The next day, he fired her in front of her fellow employees.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act “forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.”
Employers must treat pregnant women the same as any other temporarily disabled employees, providing light or alternative duty and even unpaid leave if necessary. It’s also illegal to harass a woman because of her pregnancy to the point of creating a hostile work environment.