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Press Release 02-22-2024

EEOC Sues Gracious Bakery for Pregnancy Discrimination

New Orleans-based Bakery Fired Employee Because of Medical Condition Related to Her Pregnancy, Federal Agency Charges

NEW ORLEANS – Gracious, LLC, a company based in New Orleans and doing business as Gracious Bakery + Café, violated federal law when it fired an employee because of a medical condition related to her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed February 16, 2024.

According to the EEOC, the bakery operator violated federal law when it fired an employee after missing two shifts to seek emergency medical treatment related to her pregnancy. Although the pregnant employee was ready to return to work within two days and performed satisfactorily, the company fired her because, according to her managers, her pregnancy complications created a reliability issue. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the employee was able to perform her job functions and it unlawfully fired her because of perceived impairments and conditions related to her pregnancy.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination because of pregnancy or related medical conditions, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which forbids discrimination against a qualified individual because of a pregnancy-related impairment that the employer regards as a disability. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Gracious, LLC d/b/a Gracious Bakery + Café), Civil Action No. 24-cv-00218) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

“A pregnant worker is protected against discrimination by federal law,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “An employer who acts on harmful stereotypes about a pregnant worker’s reliability violates the law.” 

Michael Kirkland, director of the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, said, “A pregnant worker has a right to an equal opportunity in the workplace, and the EEOC works to safeguard equal opportunity for all pregnant workers.”

The EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office is part of the Houston District, which covers Louisiana and parts of Texas.

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, please visit

The EEOC prevents and remedies unlawful employment discrimination and advances equal opportunity for all. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.