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EECO Sues 40 Steak & Seafood for Pregnancy Discrimination

Federal Agency Says North Dakota Restaurant Fired Server Because She Was Pregnant

MINNEAPOLIS - 40 Steak & Seafood, a Bismarck, N.D., restaurant, violated federal law by firing a server because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed.

According to Julianne Bowman, district director for the EEOC's Chicago District office, who supervised the investigation preceding the lawsuit, Erica Davidson worked as a server at 40 Steak & Seafood until she told them that she was pregnant. Soon thereafter, the restaurant fired her. The manager who fired Davidson told her co-workers that she was no longer working there because she was pregnant.

Such alleged conduct violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including discrimination based upon pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. 40 East, Inc., d/b/a 40 Steak & Seafood, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00260-DLH-CSM, was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, and was assigned to U.S. District Chief Judge Daniel L. Hovland. The government's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Laurie Vasichek and supervised by EEOC Associate Regional Attorney Jean P. Kamp.

"Pregnancy discrimination is a continuing problem in the United States," said Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District Office. "The rule is simple: don't fire someone, or treat someone adversely in any way, simply because she is pregnant. It is against the law and it is just wrong."

The EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District, which is responsible for handling charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.