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Press Release 09-27-2012

EEOC Sues J's Seafood Restaurant of Panama City for Pregnancy Discrimination

Federal  Agency Charges That Employer Discharged Two Employees Because They Were  Pregnant

MOBILE, Ala. -- S.T.L.I,  Inc., doing business as J's Seafood Restaurant of Panama City, a Florida corporation  operating a seafood restaurant in Panama  City, Fla., violated federal  law by discharging two servers because of their pregnancy, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC's suit, both servers were hired in  June 2011 and terminated in October of that year after the restaurant became  aware of their pregnancies.  According to  the EEOC, the restaurant told the employees that their pregnancies caused them  to be a liability to the company.

Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination  Act (PDA), provides that it is unlawful for employers to discharge any  individual because of her pregnancy.  The EEOC  filed suit (EEOC v. S.T.L. I,  Inc. d/b/a J's Seafood Restaurant of Panama  City, Case No. 5:12-cv-00317) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of  Florida after an investigation was completed by the EEOC's Mobile Local Office  and after the agency first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process. 

The suit  seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages,  reinstatement into the positions the employees previously held, and injunctive  relief.

 "The EEOC is  committed to holding employers accountable when they fire employees, or subject  them to other unlawful treatment, because of their sex or pregnancy," said C.  Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District  Office.  "This lawsuit, we trust, will  deter other employers from engaging in this same type of conduct."

 Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for  the EEOC's Birmingham District, added, "Too many employers  continue to penalize their female work force because of pregnancy.  This lawsuit sends the message that employers  need to hear - stop discriminating against pregnant employees."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing  federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC's Birmingham  District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the  Florida Panhandle.  Further information  about the EEOC is available on its web site at