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Press Release 09-27-2017

EEOC Sues Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse  For Pregnancy Discrimination

Hibachi-Style Restaurant Fired Server Because She Was Pregnant, Federal Agency Charges

DETROIT -- Jackson, Mich., hibachi-style restaurant Ichiban Japanese Restaurant, LLC, dba Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse, violated federal law when it fired an employee because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an employee who worked at the restaurant as a server and bartender was discharged because she was pregnant. The company allegedly has a policy which requires an employee to voluntarily resign or be discharged once she is six months pregnant.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits pregnancy discrimination in employment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Ichiban Japanese Restaurant, LLC, d/b/a Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse Case No. 2:17-cv-13164) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a voluntary prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for the fired employee and any other harmed parties, including back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

"Federal law prohibits an employer from discharging a pregnant employee based on the employee's pregnancy," explained Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. "Even if an employer lets an employee work during the first six months of her pregnancy, as we found in this case, it still violates Title VII by having a blanket policy that prohibits an employee from working past her sixth month. Company policies must comport with the law."

The restaurant company has other locations throughout southeastern Michigan.

The EEOC's Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.

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