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PRESS RELEASE
9-29-11

EEOC Sued Sandbar for Pregnancy Discrimination

Peoria Restaurant and Bar Removed Pregnant Woman From Sunday Schedule During Football Season, Federal Agency Charged

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it is suing Evening Entertainment Group, LLC dba Sandbar Mexican Grill at its Peoria location for removing a pregnant employee from working on Sundays during NFL football season because she was pregnant.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. Evening Entertainment Group, LLC, dba Sandbar Mexican Grill, Civ. # 11-01870-PHX-FJM, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleges that Sandbar instituted a policy of removing pregnant women from its Sunday schedule at its Peoria restaurant in an attempt to allegedly satisfy its Sunday football customers.  The EEOC alleges that Sandbar started the policy because it believed its male customers did not wish to see pregnant women while they watched Sunday football games.  The EEOC further alleges that working on Sundays during football season was the most or one of the most lucrative shifts during the week. According to the EEOC, after announcing its policy of removing pregnant women from its Sunday schedule, Sandbar removed a pregnant woman from its lucrative Sunday schedule, causing her a significant loss of income.

Sex discrimination in the workplace, including pregnancy, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The agency seeks monetary damages, including compensatory and punitive damages to remedy the discrimination.  In addition, the EEOC asks for injunctive relief and that Sandbar institute and implement policies to eradicate and prevent future episodes of pregnancy discrimination. 

Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office said, “Pregnancy discrimination remains a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace. Employers cannot change the terms and conditions of an employee work just because they are pregnant to satisfy a perceived customer preference about the physical appearance of employees.”

EEOC District Director Rayford Irvin added, “The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the law and emphasize a woman’s right to employment, including when she is pregnant.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.